Inflows of foreign direct investments to the Philippines rose substantially in the first quarter of the year as investors were reassured by the country’s strong economy, the central bank said on Monday.
In a press statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said FDIs totaled $2.2 billion in net inflows for the first quarter of 2018, representing an increase of 43.5 percent from $1.5 billion in the comparable period last year.
“This reflected investors’ continued positive outlook on the Philippine economy on the back of sound macroeconomic fundamentals and robust growth prospects,” the BSP said.
Net equity capital increased more than six-fold to $887 million from a year ago as gross placements of $996 million more than compensated for the withdrawals of $109 million.
Equity capital placements for the first quarter originated mainly from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan. The bulk of these placements were invested in manufacturing; financial and insurance; real estate; arts, entertainment and recreation; and electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply activities.
Net investments in debt instruments reached $1.1 billion, a decrease of 8.2 percent from $1.2 billion in the previous year. Reinvestment of earnings was steady at $193 million.
For the month of March 2018 alone, FDIs reached $682 million, representing a 27 percent growth from the $537 million recorded in the same period last year.
FDI inflows rose during the month as net equity capital increased markedly on the back of higher gross placements of equity capital ($351 million from $51 million) and lower withdrawals ($33 million from $42 million).
Equity capital infusions in March came mostly from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States, and Sweden. These were channeled largely to manufacturing; real estate; art, entertainment and recreation; and financial and insurance activities.
Non-residents’ investments in debt instruments issued by local affiliates (or intercompany borrowings) posted net inflows of $301 million, albeit lower by 36.1 percent compared to its year-ago level.
Meanwhile, reinvestment of earnings increased by 12.6 percent to $63 million in March 2018 from $56 million in March 2017.
BSP statistics on FDI covers actual investment inflows, which could be in the form of equity capital, reinvestment of earnings and borrowings between affiliates. In contrast to investment data from other government sources, the BSP’s FDI data include investments where ownership by the foreign enterprise is at least 10 percent.
Meanwhile, FDI data of investment promotion agencies did not make use of the 10 percent threshold and include borrowings from foreign sources that are non-affiliates of the domestic company. Furthermore, the BSP’s FDI data are presented in net terms (i.e., equity capital placements less withdrawals), while other agencies’ FDI tallies do not account for equity withdrawals.