The Philippine government has reported that the country's economic growth hit an above-target 7.2 percent last year despite a fourth-quarter hit from natural disasters, according to the paper Business World.

Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said that this was a remarkable turnout because the economy grew better than expected target of 6-7 percent for 2013 despite the challenges the country faced during the year such as the Bohol earthquake in October and super typhoon Haiyan in November.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the “astounding” annual growth - higher than the 6.8 percent seen in 2012 - demonstrated the country’s resilience.

He also noted that the Philippines was the second fastest-growing economy in Asia after China , which grew by 7.7 percent last year.

Meanwhile, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that ''surpassing expectations - even in the midst of significant challenges - has become the hallmark of the Philippine economy''.

Central bank governor Amando M.Tetangco, Jr. said that growth above 7 percent reinforces the assessment that the fundamental strength of the economy is intact.

The country’s gross national income, which includes income from abroad, also climbed by 7.5 percent in 2013 from 6.5 percent a year earlier. The 2013 result was the highest since 2003.

For this year, Balisacan said he was optimistic that the Philippine economy will remain strong, with agriculture and industry “vibrant”.-VNA