Investment pledges approved by the Board of Investments surged 112 percent in the first half to P645.3 billion from P304.4 billion in the same period last year, boosted by San Miguel Corp.’s commitment to invest P530 billion in a new international airport in Bulacan province.
“The robust bounce-back despite the pandemic shows the country’s resilience as we begin the transition to easing out the restrictions after a prolonged lockdown of the economy. While we expect a lower GDP output in the second quarter than the first quarter due to the ECQ, there are already signs that the economy is humming back to life with industry conditions becoming stable,” said Trade Secretary and BOI chairman Ramon Lopez.
Lopez said the uptick in investments was expected as the Philippines is still considered one of the top investment destinations with strong economic fundamentals.
Lopez said the country’s manufacturing sector began to stable based on the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index survey of IHS Markit showing an increase in Philippine manufacturing index score to 49.7 in June 2020, up from 40.1 in May, the first monthly increase in four months.
The output index in June was 51.1, coming from a low of 10.2 in April and 29.4 in May. Indices below 50 show a decrease in manufacturing output while a score above 50 mirrors an improvement of activity.
Lopez said the change in community rules boosted the manufacturing output which made inroads towards stability at the end of the first half.
He expressed optimism that the economy would recover by the third quarter with a positive growth as most of the country was expected to have a relaxed form of community quarantine. He said that strict social distancing and health protocols would still remain in effect to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Data showed that approved investments from domestic sources jumped 166 percent in the first six months to P626.7 billion from P235.6 billion a year ago.
Investment commitments by foreign businessmen dropped 73 percent in the six-month period to P18.6 billion from P68.9 billion a year earlier.
France was the top source of foreign commitments with P1.5 billion, followed by the Netherlands with P1.06 billion, Japan with P790 million, Malaysia with P601 million, and India with P329 million.
“Construction/infrastructure is the pace-setter among industries with P530.8 billion as of the first half. The transportation and storage sectors remain strong with P86.7 billion, a 785-percent improvement from last year’s figure of just P9.8 billion,” said Trade Undersecretary and BOI managing head Rodolfo Ceferino.
Real estate posted a solid a 16.5-percent growth to P9 billion from P7.7 billion in 2019. Renewable energy/power, manufacturing and accommodation recorded P6.6 billion, P5.3 billion, and P3.8 billion in approved projects, respectively.
Ninety-six projects received the green-signal. Once operational, they are expected to generate 27,082 jobs, up by 57.3 percent from 17,214 in the same period last year.
Among the recent approvals were San Miguel Aerocity Inc.’s P530.8-billion airport project in Bulacan, Seaoil’s P654-million downstream petroleum project in La Union, Gigasol3 Inc.’s P2.4-billion 63-megawatt solar project in Central Luzon, Royale Cold Storage North Inc.’s P1.5-billion storage facility in Laguna and Heineken International BV’s P1-billion brewery plant.