Skyline of Bonifacio Global City
The Philippine central bank governor, Benjamin Diokno, in a recent speech affirmed that the country’s economy remains robust, characterized by strong fundamentals that include low interest rates, a strong currency, record gross international reserves, low debt ratios, stable inflation and improving employment figures.
Public infrastructure projects, agriculture and high technology are driving the economic recovery. Among the services sector, domestic tourism is poised for a rebound, led by the Department of Tourism’s efforts to ensure the careful reopening of top local destinations. “We hope that this will soon make way for greater inter-regional travel,” says Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo- Puyat. “But visitors from all over the Philippines can now enjoy some of the world’s best islands at their safest and most tranquil.”
A diverse range of industries, from food manufacturing to financial services, continue to stay buoyant. The business process outsourcing sector (BPO) also remains optimistic, with increased demand for outsourced health-related services encouraging some BPO companies to expand. The pandemic has prompted greater work flexibility in the sector, with almost 70% of its labor force now working from home, according to the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines. This means multi-use developments, such as those offered by Alveo Land, remain attractive for both tenants and investors. “Our projects offer dynamic configurations that balance residential, lifestyle options and workspaces,” explains Alveo Land President Robert Lao. “They can easily adapt to the demands of the new normal, where convenience and innovation are key.”
With crises also come opportunities, as seen in the dramatic rise in digital banking during the quarantine period. Increased financial digitalization has enabled greater access to financial services and quicker capital turnaround, thus accelerating income growth. By strengthening their e-commerce operations, companies such as SM Investments Corporation are evolving with the circumstances while positioning themselves for a post-recovery future. “Even across different platforms, we’ve managed to keep our brand front and center,” says SM President and CEO Frederic DyBuncio. “This assures our customers that they can count on us, whatever the situation.”
The Philippine central bank expects GDP to bounce back and grow by 6.5% to 7.5% in 2021 and 2022. The Asian Development Bank also expects growth to accelerate in 2021 with effective fiscal support and monetary policies keeping the economy on track. JPMorgan Chase is even more bullish on the country. In August, it increased its 2021 growth forecast to 9.5%, which would be among the strongest in the region.
Southeast Asia may have seen a decrease in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first half of this year, but the Philippines managed to buck this trend. The central bank reported FDI net inflows increased for the fourth consecutive month in August, expanding 47% from a year earlier, while net equity capital investments rose by 33%. This show of confidence by investors demonstrates the country’s sound financial management, effective pandemic control efforts and unshakeable resilience.