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Business

BSP ‘not so concerned’ about Omicron – Diokno

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
BSP ânot so concernedâ about Omicron â Diokno
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in his weekly online press conference that the central bank would extend its accommodative monetary policy stance until needed by the national government.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) remains unfazed by the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant as it aims to maintain an accommodative monetary policy stance that will allow the country to fully recover from the pandemic.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in his weekly online press conference that the central bank would extend its accommodative monetary policy stance until needed by the national government.

“We are not so concerned about the new variant. I think there is too much exaggeration on that. I think the best thing to do for the Philippines is to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and we have sufficient vaccines available,” Diokno said.

The central bank has kept the benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of two percent since November last year to encourage banks to lend more and boost economic activity.

With the easing of mobility curbs, the economy has started to gradually recover, allowing the country to exit the pandemic-induced recession with a back-to-back gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 12 percent in the second quarter and 7.1 percent in the third quarter, from a contraction of 3.9 percent in the first quarter.

Economic managers through the Development Budget Coordination Committee penned a GDP growth target of between four and five percent this year from a record contraction of 9.6 percent last year when the country slipped into recession.

They expect a faster GDP expansion of seven to nine percent in 2022 and 2023 as the country returns to pre-pandemic levels of output.

BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS
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