Philippines: FDI up, but new investors outnumbered by those leaving

MANILA, Philippines — For the first time this year, there were more foreign investors who flew out of the country in June than new ones and those who decided to profit more from their earnings, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.

Job-generating foreign direct investments posted a net inflow of $674 million, nearly triple the same period last year.

But this net inflow—which means more investments entered than left—came only from existing foreign companies in the Philippines that borrowed funds from their mother agencies abroad.

The BSP records these transactions as FDI as they supposedly signal expansion plans of existing foreign firms here who use borrowed funds to finance business in the Philippines.

“(This reflects) continued bullish outlook on the Philippine economy,” the central bank said in a statement on Monday.

In terms of new investors however, equity placements amounted to $113 million, but these were offset by $185 million in withdrawals during the same period. It means more investments—amounting to $72 million—left than entered.

It also erased gains from reinvested earnings worth $72 million, figures showed.

Equity placements are considered a gauge of new FDI entry and signal investor confidence. Officials want to attract more FDI, not only keep existing ones, as they tend to stay longer than other capital inflows and create jobs.

According to BSP, the bulk of equity inflows in June came from the US, India, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

These were mainly channeled to the property, power, financial, manufacturing and professional sectors.

As of the first semester, FDI has posted a net inflow of $3.598 billion, although this was down 14 percent from same period last year. Most of these also came from the US, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

For this year, BSP has forecast FDI to reach a record-high of $8 billion, following three straight years of peak performance.

Last year, FDI registered a net inflow of $7.93 billion.