Country’s FDIs going nowhere but up

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The country’s foreign direct investments (FDI) has no way to go but up, because of the country’s good macroeconomic numbers, and credit-rating upgrades, among others.

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Maria Theresa Marcial-Javier, senior vice president and head of Asset Management and Trust Group of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said during the Rising Stars of the Philippines forum held at the Solaire Resort and Casino on Thursday that the country’s FDIs “can only go up” as the Philippines recorded recent improvements in credit ratings, and business confidence and other economic rankings.

“We can only go up in terms of FDIs as credit ratings boost the Philippines . . . Having the recent improvements in competitiveness, we are getting there and we are in the right direction,” Javier said.

The country’s FDI was 2.8-percent down since the first four months of the year compared to the period in 2012.

But Javier said that even if there is still “a lot to do by local government agencies,” the country is expected to do well in attracting investments. She added that the Philippines will pose a challenge to its neighbors.

“The many challenges in neighboring markets and United States will somehow allow our country to shine above others . . . Hopefully with this, we can see more investments coming in,” Javier said, referring to the rise of minimum wages in East Asia and Pacific countries, among others.

Gerald Baldivia, managing director of the local advising specialist firm Angeon Advisors Ltd., said that the recent upgrade of the Philippines in credit ratings and economic rankings will increase the likelihood that the country will be visible in the eyes of investors, and that the main attracting asset of the country would be its young labor force aged 35 and below, which take up 70 percent of the total labor market at present.

“I am optimistic that [the country’s young labor force]is the prime turner of the Philippines to investors and companies,” Baldivia said.

But Marlene Wittman, managing director of Asian-based investment specialist firm Aquitainte Investment Advisors Ltd., said that foreign investors want to be assured of transparency, which is quite “tarnished” in the Philippines.

Besides transparency issues, Wittman said that any backlog with infrastructure projects is considered as a “deal breaker” on the country’s improvement.

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