Feb 15, 2013

Philippines - Asean execs bullish on Phl prospects

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MANILA, Philippines - Business executives in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have expressed “sky-high confidence on the Philippine economy this year,” Standard Chartered Bank said in its latest survey.

“Although we do not have historical data to compare for the Philippines, confidence among our clients is extremely high,” the British bank said.

The bank study is the second leg of an annual survey on ASEAN corporates. The first part of the survey was done in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

It noted that majority of the respondents, composed of ASEAN corporates, are highly optimistic on the growth prospects of the Philippines this year compared to 2012.

“A significant net 77 percent of corporate respondents (optimists minus pessimists) see their businesses doing better in 2013 than in 2012,” it said. “Most of our clients in the Philippines are very optimistic about the economy, 74.5 percent of all our respondents expect their businesses to do better in 2013 than in 2012. Only 6.1 percent think that their businesses could do worse in 2013. This is particularly bullish, considering the Philippines registered 6.6-percent growth in 2013,” StanChart said.

“And, remarkably, none of the clients (i.e., of the 170 respondents) named the Philippines as their market of concern in 2013 (instead, they chose the US, Europe or China),” the study further noted.

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“We believe this reflects the Philippines’ relative insulation against external cycles, along with strong growth prospects that have alleviated domestic concerns,” it said.

The study also indicated that Philippine peso would remain stronger or flat against the US dollar by end 2013.

“Other clients are concerned about managing forex/interest rate risks (26 percent) and regulatory/policy (22 percent). We believe that this is attributable to the policy changes such as on special deposit rates and taxation-in response to the capital inflows to the Philippines,” it noted.

Meanwhile, the Philippine economy could grow six percent this year on the back of robust consumption spending buoyed by the election season and an expected roll-out of more infrastructure projects, original an investment bank said.

Singapore-based DBS Ltd. revised its forecast from 5.3 percent, becoming the latest firm to recognize Philippine economic gains following an above-target 6.6-percent expansion in 2012.

The latest outlook now falls at the low-end of the Aquino administration’s six to seven-percent target for the year.

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