THE Philippines’ investment landscape will remain insulated from the impact of trade tensions between the United States and China next year, according to an executive of regional insurance giant Etiqa.
In a briefing in Makati City on Wednesday, Etiqa Chief Strategy Officer Chris Eng Poh Yoon said the global investment outlook remained uncertain in 2020 because of US President Donald Trump’s trade policies.
“I think the biggest uncertainty here is, of course, Donald Trump. He’s probably going to do whatever he can to get reelected,” Eng said.
Despite this, he emphasized that a global recession was not likely to happen next year, as the US and China would ensure that their economies keep “humming along” with the rest of the word.
“If he sees the economy slow down too much, Trump will — as in the case of the recent tariffs in China [that were] pulled back at the last minute — make sure that things can continue humming along with the US,” Eng said.
“It’s a similar situation in China, of course. You know, Xi Jinping, I think, [is] committed to remain as president for life or something. So he’s not going to raise any major recession if he can help it,” he added.
In the case of the Philippines, Eng said its economy “is better insulated,” along with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) when it comes to the trade war.
According to him, the country is more of a domestic-oriented economy where trade is a “less important” part of it.
He also noted that commodity exports are also not a major part of the economy, “so all these shows a greater resilience in the Filipino economy.”
In terms of growth, End said the Philippines was poised to be the second-fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia next year, after Vietnam.
He forecast the Philippines’ gross domestic product to expand at 5 percent next year.
“Over 6 percent would be a bit of a stretch, I think. But the high 5 percent I think is still good,” Eng said.
His 2020 projection compares to the government’s target range of 6.5 to 7.5 percent.
Economic growth in the country currently stands at 5.5 percent in the first half of 2019, well below the government’s downwardly revised target range of 6 to 7 percent.