Economic optimism in the Philippine mid-market remains the highest among 35 economies surveyed despite a slight dip in the past 12 months, according to the annual International Business Report of business advisory firm Grant Thornton.
Results of the recent survey show that 48.6 percent of respondents saw their revenues growing more than 5 percent in 2018.
The report described the Philippines as a strategic growth market in the league with other optimistic countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and India.
It said while a net 73 percent are upbeat about the outlook for the Philippine economy over the next 12 months, such optimism declined 9 percentage points from a year ago. In contrast, a net 45 percent of Southeast Asian companies surveyed are optimistic about the Asean economy.
Statistics also indicate that a net 66 percent of Filipino mid-market companies expect an increase in revenue in the next 12 months.
“The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing countries in the emerging markets. It is expected to grow by about 6 to 7 percent in 10 years. The market’s expectations for the Philippine economy are very encouraging,” said P&A Grant Thornton chairperson and chief executive Marivic Españo.
A separate report from Grant Thornton International predicted that the Philippine economy would grow to $434 billion by 2023 from $331 billion in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate of 5.35 percent which is faster than the projected growth rate for Southeast Asia as a whole.
One of the big drivers of growth is the digital economy which is forecast to grow from $5 billion today to $21 billion by 2025.
The survey said that while automation in manufacturing and services could see a reduction of 1.5 million jobs over the next five years, the job losses will be more than made up by the Philippine government’s $180-billion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure development program.
The construction of more highways, airports, bridges and ports is expected to add $2.47 trillion to the Philippine economy and employ 7 million people by 2030, it said.
Other sectors seeing strong growth include real estate, banking and finance, entertainment and tourism and outsourcing.
The Philippines provides a growing number of business opportunities across many areas, it said.
“We are serious about making sure that we provide the right infrastructure and the right services to support the growing economy. Fifty-four percent of mid-market companies surveyed intend to expand their business domestically,” Españo said.