The Philippine economy grew 7.3 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter, its fastest growth in three years, boosted by increased consumer and government spending, improved exports and remittances from overseas Filipino workers.
The growth, which was a big improvement on an expansion of 0.5 percent a year earlier, was the fastest since the second quarter of 2007, the National Statistical Coordination Board said Thursday.
Campaign spending from January to March for the Philippines' first nationwide automated election helped stimulate the economy, while "sustained strong demand" for Filipino workers abroad contributed to the 24.9 percent growth in remittances, it said.
The El Nino dry spell resulted in a drop in commercial crop production, contributing to the zero growth for the agriculture, fishery and forestry sector following a 2.8 percent decline in the fourth quarter last year, the agency said.
A "substantial rebound" in manufacturing saw the sector grow 3.8 percent following a 6.3 expansion in the last quarter of 2009.
Capital investment grew 15.7 percent, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2000.
Merchandize exports, meanwhile, registered double-digit growth.