Citi: Positive economic story to continue for PH

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    Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed (2nd from right) and BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno (middle) both shared their positive outlook on the Philippine economy together with (from left to right) Citi Philippines economist Nalin Chutchotitham, Citi Philippines Country Treasurer and Markets & Securities Services Head Paul Favila and Citi Asia Pacific chief economist Johanna Chua.
    Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed (2nd from right) and BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno (middle) both shared their positive outlook on the Philippine economy together with (from left to right) Citi Philippines economist Nalin Chutchotitham, Citi Philippines Country Treasurer and Markets & Securities Services Head Paul Favila and Citi Asia Pacific chief economist Johanna Chua.

    Citi anticipates a continued positive path for the Philippine economy, projecting GDP growth of 5.9 percent by year-end. These economic views and capital market developments were discussed at Citi Philippines’ annual Perspectives Forum held on August 9 at Shangri-la Fort, Bonifacio Global City,

    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno delivered the event’s opening remarks and shared his continued optimism that overall prospects for the Philippine economy for this year and next year remain bright and growth momentum can be sustained over the medium-term.

    “The Philippines has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has enjoyed 82 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted growth with an average growth rate of 6.5 percent from 2012 to 2018. This momentum is expected to continue. The IMF, the

    World Bank and the ADB offer similar favorable assessments with their projections in line with the government’s official targets,” Diokno said.

    The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) slowed down to 5.5 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2019 as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), but the governor called this a “blip.”

    He said this was due to government underspending in the first half of the year and the late passage of the 2019 budget.

    Diokno added that the government is committed to fast track the implementation of projects to make up for the “lower-than-planned” state spending for the first semester.

    The governor also declared the Philippine banking system as sound and stable and said it has served as the pillar of strength for the economy.

    Citi Philippines Country Treasurer and Markets & Securities Services Head Paul Favila echoed BSP’s sentiment, stressing that the Philippines “is quickly moving into a very interesting phase of progress.”

    “There are many remarkable developments rolling out all around us. Infrastructure build-out is going full steam and more importantly, we are beginning to enjoy the benefits of some of these endeavors,” Favila said.

    Favila added the Philippines “stands out as one of the few economies that seems to be forging ahead despite lackluster conditions all around.”

    Citi Asia Pacific Chief Economist Johanna Chua discussed the uncertainty both globally and in Asia due to the US-China trade tensions that will take some time to resolve.

    She explained that many issues are more about geopolitics than economics.

    Citi economist Nalin Chutchotitham said despite external factors, the positive outlook on Philippine growth remains.

    She shared Citi’s adjusted GDP forecast of 5.9 percent by year-end.

    “We do still believe in a very positive growth story and also a very benign inflation outlook.

    There’s also more room for fiscal spending and more room for monetary easing,” Chutchotitham said.

    She also explained that infrastructure spending in the second half of the year and passage of additional tax reforms will help accelerate growth.

    Perspectives is an annual forum held by Citi’s Markets and Securities Services that gives clients deeper insights on how current events globally and regionally are affecting the Philippine economy.

    Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions.

    Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.