Philippine Q1 FDI pledges surge threefold, led by manufacturing sector

10, Jun. 2019

MANILA, NNA - Foreign direct investment commitments rose more than threefold in the first quarter of 2019 from a year earlier, led by pledges for manufacturers, but the level of FDI slipped nearly 50 percent from the previous three-month period, government data showed.

Key Points:

―― The Philippine Statistics Authority said on Thursday that in Q1, total foreign investments approved by seven Investment Promotion Agencies reached 46.0 billion pesos ($883 million), more than three times more than 14.2 billion pesos in the corresponding period of 2018.

―― By contrast, the combined value of total foreign investment commitments fell 49 percent from the final quarter of 2018, when FDI pledges reached 91.1 billion pesos, the highest amount in two years. Approved FDI tends to slow down in Q1 from Q4.

―― The seven approving organizations are the Board of Investments, Clark Development Corporation, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, BOI-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.

―― Total foreign investment pledges for the manufacturing sector surged 284.6 percent to 35.0 billion pesos, compared to a year earlier, while investment commitments for administrative and support services increased 95.4 percent to 3.5 billion pesos.

―― The Netherlands ranked first in terms of pledges with 10.1 billion pesos, followed by Japan, with 9.4 billion pesos, and Thailand, with 8.5 billion pesos.

Takeaway:

―― PSA head, Claire Dennis Mapa, said in a statement that foreign and Philippine projects approved by the seven IPAs in the first quarter are expected to generate 41,837 jobs. “Out of these anticipated jobs, 76.4 percent or 31,979 jobs would come from projects with foreign interest,” he said.

―― Some analysts point out that the escalating U.S.-China trade row may be behind the rise in foreign investment commitments, as more companies are moving production for the U.S. market from China to Southeast Asia in order to avoid higher tariffs.