Damage caused by natural disasters and falling public spending have pushed the economic growth of the Philippines down to 5.3 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the lowest level in three years, according to the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA).

Philippine Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan attributed typhoon damage and weak performance in some key sectors to the slowed GDP growth. However, he said that the country’s performance ranked fourth in Asia, followed by China, Vietnam and Malaysia.

With a modest growth of 5.8 percent in the first nine months, the Philippines is likely to fail to meet the yearly target of 6.5-7.5 percent, he said.

Balisacan criticised the prolonged negative impacts of super typhoon Haiyan as well as the delay of the government post-typhoon reconstruction programme in devastated areas.

However, he still expressed his optimism on the economy, saying that the export turnover rose sharply in the third quarter thanks to the support of the global manufacturing industry’s recovery, boosting the country’s key exports of semiconductors, wiring harnesses and garments.-VNA