April 27, 2016 at 11:40 pm
Julito G. Rada
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the country’s second-largest lender, said the positive economic prospects this year will boost its core businesses, particularly loans and deposits.
“There is an ample liquidity in the system that could mean higher deposits,” Metrobank’s head of strategic planning division head Jett Gamboa said in a news briefing in Makati City Wednesday.
Gamboa said Metrobank loans and deposits were expected to expand by 12 percent to 15 percent this year.
Metrobank sees the economy growing 6.3 percent this year, up from 5.8 percent in 2015, on robust domestic demand, accelerating government spending and sustained strength of remittances from Filipinos working overseas.
Gamboa said the bank would establish 20 to 30 branches this year in a bid to widen coverage nationwide. Last year, Metrobank opened 25 branches.
Metrobank’s net income fell 7 percent in 2015 to P18.6 billion from P20.1 billion in 2014, on lower trading gains. Total resources hit a record P1.8 trillion last year.
Meanwhile, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. said it expected no major impact on the economic growth trajectory of the Philippines from the national elections next month.
HSBC said in a report domestic demand would remain robust, due to sustained remittance growth.
“There appears to be little risk to the Philippine’s economic outlook over the next year emanating from the elections –either positive or negative,” the bank said.
“Over the short term, private consumption should remain robust due to remittance growth tracking 10 percent year-on-year in peso terms given the available data for first quarter of 2016,” it said.
Remittances grew 4.6 percent in 2015 to a record $25.767 billion from $24.628 billion in 2014. HSBC said the high-frequency indicators such as credit growth and trade data all pointed
to an increase in momentum in the first quarter.
“There is a palpable sense that certain policies, like the focus on infrastructure and improved fiscal efficiency, have benefitted the country and the electorate. Encouragingly, most candidates plan to take the pro-growth agenda further by improving the Philippines’ competitiveness with regard to FDI through constitutional changes,” the bank said.
The government earlier projected GDP to grow between 6.8 and 7.8 percent this year anchored mainly on robust domestic demand. Last year, the economy grew 5.8 percent, below the government’s target range of 7 percent to 8 percent.
HSBC said there would be no significant impact on the Philippine peso in the immediate aftermath of the results of the election.