Philippine economy grows 6.9 percent in last quarter

Officials say the Philippine economy grew at a faster than expected 6.9 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter, helped by increased public spending on pay hikes for government personnel.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia described the growth reported on Thursday as "spectacular." It surpassed a market consensus forecast of 6.6 percent and was an improvement on 6.7 percent growth in April-June.

Growth in July-September last year was 7.1 percent.

Pernia said public spending would ratchet higher as the government embarks on a massive infrastructure construction program. Household consumption is expected to pick at the end of the year with the Christmas season.

Still, civil strife in the southern third of the country has taken a toll as seen in the dismal performance of the Philippine peso this year.