MEMBERS of the Makati Business Club (MBC) are taking a highly optimistic outlook on the Philippine, despite expectations of faster inflation and higher interest rates this year on top of a critical out on trade.
Majority of the senior business executives polled, or 83 percent, penciled in a higher or same level gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year from 6.8 percent in 2016. Only 17 percent said it would lower that 6.8 percent.
On consumer prices, 85 percent expects the country’s headline inflation to move at a faster pace than last year’s 1.8 percent average rate.
On the other hand, 12 percent expected inflation to stay at the same rate as last year and 3 percent said it would be lower this year.
On trade, the general outlook is slightly critical. A significant number of MBC members see a decrease in the overall balance of trade (exports minus imports).
More than of the members or 53 percent expected exports to either increase by 29 percent or stay unchanged at 24 percent.
Forty-seven percent said exports would probably be lower than last year’s $51.36 billion (January to November).
Some 64 percent of those polled expected imports to be lower than last year’s $73.72 billion, while 24 percent said it would be the same and 12 percent were fairly optimistic and saying imports would be higher this year.