PAPUA NEW GUINEA, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ foreign exchange reserve, a pillar of the country’s economy, will hit $31.2 billion in the year to June 30, the central bank said on Wednesday, raising its forecast for economic growth this year to 7.5 percent from 6.4 percent in the previous year.

The reserve, which has been growing by more than 5 percent a year since 2015, has risen to $19.6 billion from $14.9 billion.

The reserve will be boosted by the increase in the value of Philippine pesos.

It rose 3.3 percent in 2017, to 8,521.7 pesos, after falling 1.4 percentage points to 7,823 pesos in 2016.

The central bank also said on Tuesday that the country would receive its first shipment of Chinese products this month, with China’s second-largest consumer market in Asia expected to take in $3.5 billion worth of goods from the Philippines.

The Philippines also plans to expand its export-oriented business and to diversify its exports, including liquefied natural gas, electronics, machinery, construction and agricultural products.(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)