Philippine economy still in ‘Goldilocks’ zone – Lobien


DAVAO CITY: The Philippine economy continues to ride a growth momentum amid the sustained boom in the property market and healthy consumption, according to the Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Philippines regional director.

Speaking before The 7th Manila Times Business Forum at Marco Polo Hotel, JLL’s Sheila Lobien said the Philippines was still under a “Goldilocks economy,” which she described as “a market environment that is not too hot or too cold, it’s just right for the investors who are in the real estate arena to have a healthy business.”

“We are one of the best performers in the world and in Asia. The economy is booming. The world knows about the Philippines right now,” she said.

Shiela Lobien, regional director of Jones Lang LaSalle Philippines PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Lobien said JLL, a leading property consultancy, remained bullish on long-term growth prospects for real-estate market as the office, retail, residential and industrial sectors continued to expand.

In the office segment, total supply has been increasing every year, she said.

“Just last year, we have seen the highest growth, in terms of supply. Office space at 1.2 million square meters. It’s like building three SM Megamalls per year,” Lobien said.

She said the Philippine business process outsourcing (BPO) industry continued its strong rally last year.

By 2020, global BPO revenues could reach $250 billion, she noted.

“The Philippines has $23 billion. If we can grow by around 16 percent in 2022, we could be a $40-billion industry. India is a $150-billion industry, in terms of BPO,” she said.

Lobien noted that the Philippines still had some of the lowest rental rates in Asia and was ninth to the lowest in rental value.

Moreover, the Philippine business environment has moved from very low transparency in 2004 to mid-transparency in 2016.

“If we attract foreign investors, the market needs to be very transparent,” Lobien said.


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