MANILA -- The Philippine economy grew 0.9 percent in 2009, barely exceeding the low end of the government's target, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported Thursday.

NSCB said growth would have been almost double at 1.7 percent if not for Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon “Pepeng,” which slowed the economic engine last year.

The global financial slump has also contributed to the lower growth, the NSCB said.

The economy grew 3.8 percent last year. The full-year growth figure for 2009 was the worst since the 1998 Asian financial crisis, which saw the local economy contract by 0.6 percent.

It also grew 1.4 percent year-on-year in the last quarter of 2009, higher than the past three quarters’ growth of 0.6 percent, 0.4 percent and 0.8 percent.

Gross domestic product growth came in at 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter despite twin storms that damaged crops in Northern Luzon.

“This continued the trend of positive performance amidst the global economic crisis and recent natural calamities,” said Augusto Santos, acting director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) of the full-year performance.

The government had projected growth of 0.7 percent to 1 percent for the whole of last year, near the lower end of its 0.8 percent to 1.8 percent target. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)