The Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the first contraction since the fourth quarter of 1998, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The latest reading compares with the 6.7 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 5.7 per cent in the first quarter last year, reports Xinhua.
Claire Dennis Mapa, the PSA head and National Statistician and Civil Registrar General, said on Thursday in a virtual media briefing that the main contributors to the decline were manufacturing; transportation and storage; and accommodation and food service activities, reports Xinhua.
Among the major economic sectors, he said agriculture, forestry, and fishing; and industry contracted by 0.4 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively.
On the other hand, Mapa said services posted a growth of 1.4 per cent during the period.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in the same briefing that the imposition of lockdown to contain COVID-19 "has come at a great cost to the Philippine economy."
"Our economy is showing weaker performance compared to the past two decades," Chua said, adding this is the first-time real GDP growth fell into negative territory since 1998 during the combined El Nino and Asian financial crisis.
The Philippines placed the entire main island of Luzon, including the country's capital region Metro Manila, under lockdown since mid-March.
Metro Manila and some provinces and cities with high-risk infections in Luzon, the central and southern Philippines continue to be under lockdown until May 15.
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