• Focus on agri to balance, boost growth – analyst

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    FOCUSING on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors would benefit the Philippines in the coming years as this would rebalance the country’s industry portfolio and help boost growth, a market strategist said.

    At the year-end economic briefing of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex) on Thursday, BDO Unibank Inc. first vice president and chief market strategist Jonathan Ravelas noted a slight shift in focus by the Duterte administration toward the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

    “It’s still going to be services-led, but it might slow down a bit to favor manufacturing and a little bit of agriculture,” Ravelas said.

    Citing compounded annual growth rates (CAGR) in previous administrations, Ravelas noted that the agriculture sector posted lower growth rates during the terms of former President Benigno Aquino III and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, at 1.70 and 2.90 percent CAGR.

    Ravelas noted that it was in the administration of former President Joseph Estrada when the agriculture sector posted the largest CAGR at 6.50 percent.

    “So we’re slightly rebalancing our country portfolio to eventually accommodate agriculture, manufacturing,” Ravelas said. “We’re investing in agriculture because we want to accelerate growth.”

    In line with the focus on agriculture, Ravelas noted that the Mindanao area is likely to be the focus of the agriculture sector, describing it as an “untapped part of the Philippines.”

    He emphasized that people do not realize yet what will be the effect of peace in Mindanao.

    “If we are able to expand on this, I guess the main focus would most likely be in Mindanao as the peace process has been made [and]should be very beneficial to the agri sector. And again, we see a lot of potential investments in this already,” Ravelas said

    Aside from agriculture, Ravelas said that other sectors that will eventually be given focus are tourism and manufacturing.

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