Eye on the Philippines
It was such a privilege to be invited by the Philippine Stocks Exchange, Inc. (PSE) to a seminar they co-hosted with Bloomberg LP here in Singapore.
The road show on Thursday was especially exciting and enlightening for me since it was my first time to be in a company of big investors, businessmen, finance people, and economists… in Singapore — a global financial center. What’s more interesting for me is that they all gathered to talk about the Philippine economy. The back-to-back talks covered the following matters:
- Investment climate in the Philippines, trends, priority sectors and Public/Private partnership projects by Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio
- The latest development in the Philippines’ capital market, opportunities, challenges and its resilience in light of current economic landscape by PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Hans B. Sicat
- The Philippines’ path to investment grade by Nomura Holdings, Inc. Economist Euben Paracuelles
Everyone agrees that the radar of investment bankers and managers is currently focused on the ASEAN economies; and, we need to take advantage of this now. USec Panlilio highlighted 10 macroeconomic performance indicators that substantiate the phenomenal state of the Philippine economy. I will outline most of them here (I was too engrossed listening to their talks that it escaped me to take down notes; although I was able to jot down a few).
- We are the #1 Asian performing stock market in 2011, with back-to-back all-time highs.
- There is a continuous inflow of OFW remittances, which translates to a well-supported and well-driven “consumer power.” Moreover, any decrease in its current velocity is not expected.
- There has been a steady export growth despite the global economic slowdown. This is of course anchored on our business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, which deploys 640,000 people (especially the service exports; 60% voice, 40% non-voice). Moreover, there was a 21.3% (sum-total of external sector) surge in Gross Int’l Revenues by January 2012.
- With the infrastructure projects leading the way, and then growth in exports, we are seeing a very stable and resilient economic growth. Economic forecast “easily” sees around 6-7% GDP growth rate.
- We now have an investment-driven development, with ~30% increase in investments in just a year. There have been a lot of proactive measures put in place by the Board of Investments (BOI) and Philippine Export Zones Authority (PEZA) to lure more foreign investors into investing in our beloved country. FYI, our top five (5) foreign investors in 2011 are: Japan, USA, Netherlands, China, and Singapore.
- We have a robust domestic financial sector that is coupled with a robust credit growth. The outstanding loans grew by 19.3% for 2011, which translates to a better propensity to lend. Moreover, our non-performing ratio is down to 2.39% — the “most sacred ratio”.
- We are starting to balance our budget and have a more efficient revenue collection effort.
- Our global competitiveness rankings have improved: World Economic Forum (+10 pts), World Bank Ranking (+1), Transparency International Ranking (+5). We now have focus groups that make sure we are globally competitive.
- Finally, we are Asia’s friendliest country and we have a huge population, hehe. This means that we have a quite veritable market, especially if they would just add more purchasing power to the population. 🙂
With these outlined in the talks, I really hope that more investors would turn their eyes toward the Philippines.
Citius, Altius, Fortius, Pilipinas!
P.S. Mr. Arthur R. Tan, President & CEO of Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI), gave a short talk titled “Resurgence of the Philippines as a Strategic Option for Asia Electronics Engineering and Manufacturing”. On the other hand, Mr. Emmanuel L. Samson who is the Chief Financial Officer of Nickel Asia Corporation (NIKL) gave a presentation titled “Major Nickel Producer with Long Track Record”.