Singapore investors cast “Eye on the Philippines”
Posted on Friday, 30 March 2012
The Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE), in cooperation with Bloomberg L.P., held a PSE Roadshow at the Bloomberg Auditorium in Singapore on 15 March 2012. Entitled “Eye on the Philippines,” the roadshow drew close to a hundred attendees from Singapore-based banks, asset managers and investment houses.
DTI Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio opened the event with his keynote address, which focused on ten macroeconomic indicators that point to the Philippines’ strong economic position and attractiveness as an investment destination. Foremost of this is the fact that PSE was the strongest performing stock market in Asia in 2011, ahead of Indonesia and Malaysia, with a 4.07% year-to-date increase.
Ambassador Minda Cruz with DTI Usec. Cristino Panlilio (2nd from left),
PSE President Hans Sicat (3rd from right) and the other speakers at the roadshow.
PSE president and CEO Mr Hans Sicat then gave a presentation on the Philippines as an investment destination, providing statistics that reinforced Usec. Panlilio’s message about the Philippines stable economy and strong market indicators. He cited the credit ratings upgrade received by the Philippines from Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service since 2008. He likewise mentioned PSE’s milestones in 2011, including rule amendments, market education initiatives, improved governance, and increased trading activity which led to consolidated financial performance in 2011.
Next came presentations from high-level representatives from two of the strongest industry sectors in the Philippines. Mr Arthur Tan, president & CEO of Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc., discussed the resurgence of the Philippines as a strategic option for electronics in Asia. Mr Emmanuel Samson, chief financial officer of Nickel Asia Corporation, then spoke about his company’s long track record as a major nickel producer, and its strong prospects for the future, especially with the ongoing development of the Taganito HPAL project, which is the biggest mining investment in the country to date, at US$1.4 billion.
Mr Euben Paracuelles, an economist at Nomura Holdings, then made a presentation entitled “On the Path to Investment Grade” wherein he expressed the view that the fiscal reforms being undertaken by the current administration in the Philippines are already creating conditions for higher growth. In particular, he cited the drastic reduction of special purpose funds in the budget, which are subject to highly discretionary spending, from P900 billion in 2010 to P200 billion at present, with the difference now being rechanneled to mainstream initiatives of the government, including social spending.
Capping the roadshow was a panel discussion on the topic “Will the Momentum Continue: Foreign Perspectives,” which brought together a group of economists and wealth managers of different nationalities, representing various companies, including Bloomberg L.P., JP Morgan Chase, Standard Chartered, and Western Asset Management. The discussants expressed very positive views on the country’s economic trajectory, with the panel moderator from Bloomberg admitting that his attempts to play ‘devil’s advocate’ proved unsuccessful because everyone in the room seemed to be convinced of the emerging Philippine success story.
Philippine Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz attended the roadshow together with Consul Cathy Torres, the embassy’s economic officer, and Ms. Anne Cathy Ronquillo, Trade Assistant at the Philippine Trade and Investment Center, Singapore.