CENTRAL VISAYAS is poised to record eight to nine percent gross regional domestic product (GRDP) for 2014, the National Economic and Development Authority 7 said. This is based on initial data from various sectors, which exhibited double digit growth in 2014, except for agriculture.

Neda said agriculture could pull down the region’s overall performance.

Banking, construction, foreign trade, tourism, and IT-Business Process Management soared last year. Agriculture, which covers crops, fisheries, livestock, and poultry, dropped by 3.02 percent in terms of total production.

Neda 7 Director Efren Carreon said last week that while he is optimistic the region can hit the eight to nine percent target, the performance is seen to lean toward the low side of eight percent because of the agriculture sector’s poor performance and the reverberating effects of the earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda in 2013, with rehabilitation efforts in some areas still unfinished.

“Eight percent is still a good growth. In fact, this is higher than the national growth rate,” Carreon said. In 2014, the country registered a 6.1 percent growth in GDP. The official said GRDP for Central Visayas is expected to come out on July.

The banking industry registered the highest growth, ranging from six to 60 percent.

Banking offices in Region 7 grew from 594 in June 2013 to 636 in June 2014, registering an increase of 7.07 percent. Total deposit grew by 29.44 percent, which is equivalent to P396 million from P306 million in the same period a year before. Savings deposit, meanwhile, grew by 14.67 percent or P153 million. Time deposits jumped by 58.7 percent (P90.4 million) while Foreign Currency Deposit Units (FCDU) sprang up to 16.8 percent (P48.3 million).

While the banking industry soared, agriculture plummeted across all segments, except for livestock. Crop production dropped by 2.6 percent, fisheries dropped by 13.9 percent, and poultry dropped by 1.03 percent. Livestock, meanwhile, increased by 0.15 percent.

For construction, Neda 7 said the National Statistics Office recorded 12,386 new construction projects, covering both residential and non-residential, in 2014. This is 27 percent higher than the total number of new projects constructed in 2013.

Last year’s construction projects were worth P22.62 billion, which is 43 percent higher than in 2013. Of the aggregate value, 58.7 percent accounted for residential construction.

Also sharing the growth is the value of foreign trade, which registered a 35.4 percent increase in 2014. Export value in the region increased by 38.4 percent, while import value registered a 31 percent increase, with data covering only the first eleven months of 2014.

“Many of the region’s export sectors realized better performance relative to past years. The furniture sector, for instance, reported return of orders. The food and beverage sector also enjoyed robust growth in 2014 because of strong demand for these products in the world market. Some players from this segment realized gains as high as 15 percent,” Neda 7 said. However, the exporters whose main market is Japan may have considered lower gains last year due to the declining value of the yen.

For tourism, total visitor arrivals grew by 15.78 percent in 2014, which is equivalent to four million tourists in the region. Of the four provinces, Siquijor posted the highest growth at 21 percent, while Cebu recorded a 16.4 percent increase.

IT-BPM also thrived in 2014, although available data is only for the first semester. Direct employment in the first half of 2014 is at 65,303 versus 51,962 in the whole year of 2013. IT-BPM export could grow to roughly US$800 million in the whole year of 2014. Export figures in the first half of 2014 is pegged at US$411 million, while import is at US$6.4 million in the same period.

For 2015, CV is targeting a GRDP growth rate between 9.7-11.9 percent.