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Philippines economic growth better than forecast

The Philippines economy grew more than forecast in the third quarter, boosted by increased consumer and government spending and a recovery in exports.

Growth was 7.1% in the July to September quarter, from a year earlier. Analysts had forecast a 5.4% expansion.

Compared with the previous three months, the economy grew 1.3%.

The robust numbers, which come amid a volatile global economy, are likely to ease the pressure on the central bank to cut interest rates further.

"The upside surprise would mean that an interest cut would probably be unnecessary," said Enrico Tanuwidjaja, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.

"We have probably already seen the bottom of the rate-cut cycle."

The central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has cut interest rates four times this year, in an attempt to sustain growth.

The latest cut, announced last month, saw the bank lower its benchmark rate to a record-low of 3.5% from 3.75%.