The Philippines' economy shrank 9.5 percent in 2020 as coronavirus pandemic-induced restrictions caused a slump in economic activities, preliminary official data showed Thursday.

It was the worst year-on-year contraction in its gross domestic product since 1947, when comparable data first became available.

In 2019, the Southeast Asian country's GDP grew 6.0 percent.

Women walk in Manila in the Philippines on Aug. 19, 2020 wearing face shields and masks as they are required to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo)

The economy shrank 8.3 percent in the final quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, even though that was an improvement from the third quarter, which saw GDP contract by 11.4 percent.

"Private consumption remained weak," acting Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning Karl Chua said at a press briefing.

"While the government relaxed restrictions on the supply side by allowing more public transport and establishments to operate, restrictions on the demand side, notably the mobility of children and families, prevented private consumption from making a stronger comeback."

However, Chua said the prospects for 2021 are "encouraging" as a strong recovery can be expected by the end of the year, with coronavirus vaccines being rolled out to a large section of the population.

The government is forecasting 6.5 to 7.5 percent growth this year.

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