The Philippine economy grew 1.5 percent in October-December from the previous three months, better than market forecasts despite the impact of a super typhoon, supporting views the central bank will keep its policy rate steady at its meeting next week.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the economy would expand by a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the September quarter, after 1.1 percent growth in the third quarter.
From a year earlier, growth slowed to 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter, the economic planning agency said on Thursday, topping the market forecast of 6.0 percent, but weaker than the revised annual growth of 6.9 percent in the third quarter.
For 2013, the country posted GDP growth of 7.2 percent, above the government's 6.0 to 7.0 percent growth target and marking the fastest pace of growth since 2010 despite the fallout from Typhoon Haiyan.
Following the release Arsenio Balisacan, the country's socio-economic planning chief, said the Philippines is watchful of sharp swings in its currency and the impact on inflation. However, he does not expect to see much volatility in the peso due to the country's strong fundamentals.
"What we are watching are sharp swings in the exchange rate. So far we have not seen that, and we don't expect to see that," Balisacan said. "Our macroeconomic fundamentals are pretty robust compared to Indonesia, India, Thailand and we are in a good position to take advantage of the improvements in the global economy."