• Asian countries more interested on PH economy

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    The Philippines became more interesting for Asian countries with a Standard Chartered (StanChart) executive saying that neighboring countries are asking about activities and improvements of the country, given the achievements it had in 2013.

    “People are quite more interested in the Philippines’ outlook now,” said Steve Brice, StanChart chief investment strategist, told reporters in a press conference on Friday.

    “Within Asia, you get some questions on the Philippines so people . . . [before asking]questions like what is going on in the PH, but now the questions are always more framed on the positive light. [They were asking if the Philippines is] going to be the same as Indonesia,” he said, referring to Indonesia being the largest economy in Southeast Asia, and being the “brighter economy” in the region three years ago.

    Brice added that with the steady growth of the country—forecasting a 6.7-percent gross domestic product (GDP) for this year—the Philippines economy is more “solid” than Indonesia.

    “If anything, the Philippines is more solid than Indo [at present]if we talk about credit ratings as one area, it just looks more and more solid,” the StanChartchief strategist said.

    “I have to say, I took 15 minutes to get through the airport in Manila. In Jakarta, it takes me one hour. And I do see that [getting through the Philippine airport]improve dramatically than the last five years,” Brice said.

    Though projecting lower growth for this year compared to the bank’s original 7-percent GDP forecast, the StanChart chief strategist said that the overall economic environment is “skeptical” and “doing very well,” even better for the years to come.

    “It could be in five years’ time, [the country will be]growing at 10 percent…we saw some infra challenges, absolutely… but overall [economic]environment is very healthy,” Brice said.

    For 2014, the London-based StanChart forecasts 6.7-percent GDP growth, lower than the previous 7 percent, because of inflation or price hikes that will lead to lesser consumer spending, which can result in lesser profits for businesses and enterprises.

    But the government remains positive, forecasting that the 2014 GDP growth would dwell between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent.

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