Philippines greenfield investment growth highest in SouthEast Asia
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines was among the countries in Southeast Asia that saw the highest growth in greenfield investments in the first three quarters of the year, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said.
In its Foreign Direct Investment Trends and Outlook in Asia and the Pacific 2022/2023 report, ESCAP said the Philippines and Cambodia had the highest growth in greenfield investment inflow or investments for new projects from January to September this year.
“In relative terms, the highest growth rates were in the Philippines, where investments grew by 53 percent to $1.7 billion and in Cambodia where investments grew by 747 per cent to $533 million,” ESCAP said.
Singapore continued to account for the biggest share of the region’s greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, but it only grew by six percent this year from a year ago.
Meanwhile, greenfield investment inflows dropped in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.
In particular, greenfield investment inflows in Indonesia fell by 72 percent to $2.1 billion, while Malaysia saw a 67 percent decrease to $5.1 billion.
Vietnam experienced a 43 percent decline to $5 billion, while Thailand saw a 28 percent drop to $1.8 billion.
Greenfield investment inflows to Southeast Asia also declined by 39 percent to $29 billion during the period.
Outflows from Southeast Asia, on the other hand, went up by four percent to $18 billion.
In the Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP said greenfield investments rose by six percent. Outward greenfield investments from Asia-Pacific also picked up by 14 percent.
“Growth in both inward and outward greenfield investment demonstrates the continued resilience of the region to attracting investment at a time of heightened regional and global pressure, including rising inflationary pressures, increases in interest rates, shrinking fiscal space, and the emerging global economic fallout from the ongoing Russian Federation-Ukrainian conflict,” ESCAP said.
While the growth in greenfield investments in Asia Pacific is expected to continue next year, ESCAP said this is likely to be small as competition for FDI among countries would increase due to lower investor appetites related to global economic headwinds.
“Greenfield FDI is not expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels before 2025 in Asia and the Pacific,” it said.
In attracting FDI, ESCAP said investment promotion agencies (IPAs) would have to go beyond quantity, but also focus on quality so investments contribute to sustainable development.
“At a policy level, governments can influence the quantity and quality of FDI they receive through the investment legislation and regulations they implement, as well as through offering certain financial and fiscal incentives to investors,” ESCAP said.
It said IPAs would need to work with policymakers to push for incentives specifically geared towards promoting foreign investment in sustainable development sectors.