Parsing the $10.1 Billion FDI figure

The excitement over the record-setting 2017 value of foreign direct investments (FDIs) remains high.  After all, $10.1 billion makes for a more than 20% increase compared to last years  $8.2B figure. A record indeed.

This is obviously the result of the first full year of Dutertenomics. And it flies in the face of criticism of government, particularly the largely illiterate claims that its economic policies are a failure. 

Of particular interest is that the job-generating manufacturing sector has attracted some USD1.15 billion FDIs in 2017. Trade secretary Ramon Lopez  noted that FDI inflows in the manufacturing sector surged by 244 percent last year compared to 2016’s figure. It also accounted for 35 percent of the USD3.3 billion equity capital placements in 2017, he added.

This makes manufacturing more than 10% of total FDIs, which are hard investments that  create new jobs, as manufacturing enterprises are able to generate long term, stable employment for large numbers of workers.   

As 2018 rolls in, and more infrastructure projects are generated, expect the FDI figures to increase further. Despite efforts to rationalize (read: reduce) tax and related incentives as part of government's TRAIN Package 2, we expect the economy to grow at the same clip and even more investors to locate in the country. 

For now, we remain vigilant that the promised infrastructure will indeed be completed. And that like Thailand and Malaysia that invested in their own infrastructure almost two decades ago, our investments will grow as it significantly did in theirs.