Philam Asset Management, Inc. (PAMI) flies in economic experts to Visayas for the third leg of their Economic Outlook series entitled “2017 Unboxed: Unleash the Market’s Potential”. The event was held in the grand ballroom of The Mariott Hotel, in Cebu City.
The event was also in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Thematic to the holiday, PAMI opened the show with a dragon and lion dance performed by the Cebu Traditional Wushu dancers. Shortly after that, PAMI called on stage the panel speakers, Rex Mendoza of Rampver Strategic Advisors, Brian Murray of AIA, and Junie Banaag of PAMI and Vince Daffon both of Philam Life.
Specialists Sit Down
The panel was opened with a discussion on the global economic overview by Brian Murray. Murray presented his views on the US and China economic situation. For the US, talks of a proposed border tax implementation is causing worry among countries involved in US trade. This proposition plans to place a 20% tax on imports in order to lower the US corporate tax from 35% to 20% although many view this move to hit US supply chains and raise inflation. Meanwhile China manages to continue its soft landing. Services growth continues to outpace industrial growth and fiscal and monetary policy remain accommodative. External finances remain strong with $3 trillion in reserves, 20 months of import over, and a current account surplus of over $250 billion. However, resolution of the past credit boom remains an issue. Monetary conditions remain tight, but there is reluctance to cut interest rates as it complicates resolution of the past credit boom.
Rex Mendoza shared his insight on the local economic outlook. He mentions that the factors that brought us the high growth rate over the past years are going to be the same factors that can carry us on and give us the growth 2017 and the years beyond. He presented 5 factors that will affect Philippine growth. The very first pillar being the demographic window. The Philippine age distribution, based on a study done in 2014, projects a productive and financially capable majority. Mendoza says that this incoming population will fuel resilient domestic consumption. The next pillars discussed how Business Process Outsourcings (BPOs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) show year on year growth and increased remittances. Following this was his presentation on the estimated increase in tourism. He shows an estimated growth rate of 3.24% from 2015 to 2016 in visitor receipts and a 12.2% increase in international arrivals. For the final pillar, Mendoza discussed the planned government expenditure of Php 3.350 Trillion prioritizing public infrastructure.
To discuss the equity market, Eduardo “Junie” Banaag addressed key themes to which investors are uncertain about. One point mentioned was that the change in leadership will not affect the country’s credit ratings. “Our credit ratings will remain the same”. The tax policy will change in the next 5 years and it will be for the better.” Vince Daffon explained the outlook for the local fixed income market in 2017, with the 10-year Philippine government bond yield expected to increase to 4.80% by December from 4.65% at end-2016. However, yields have gone down in January due mainly to prevailing uncertainty over the execution of economic policies planned both in the US and the Philippines.
2016 left many uncertain and despite the rhetoric all four speakers say that now is the best time to invest. Forecasts show many opportunities working in the favour for the Philippines and that Filipinos should take action and maximize that potential.