Foreign businessmen brought in a record amount of investments into the country in the first full year of the Duterte administration owing to the Philippines’ strong economy, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Monday.
In a press statement, BSP Gov. Nestor Espenilla Jr. said foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows reached a record high of $10 billion in 2017, up by 21.4 percent from the year-ago level.
“Investors continue to view the country as a favorable investment destination on the back of the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals and growth prospects,” he said.
The central bank said these equity capital placements – as opposed to short-term portfolio investments or the so-called “hot money” – originated largely from the Netherlands, Singapore, the United States, Japan and Hong Kong.
By economic activity, equity capital placements were channeled mainly to gas, steam and air-conditioning supply; manufacturing; real estate; construction; and wholesale and retail trade activities.
All major foreign direct investment components registered increases during the year. In particular, net equity capital investments expanded by 25.9 percent to $3.3 billion, with gross placements of $3.7 billion exceeding withdrawals of $479 million.
Net availment of debt instruments (consisting mainly of intercompany borrowings/lending between foreign direct investors and their subsidiaries/affiliates in the Philippines) rose by 20.7 percent year-on-year to $6 billion.
Reinvestment of earnings increased by 9.3 percent to reach $776 million during the year.
In December 2017, foreign direct investments registered $699 million in net inflows. This was lower, however, by 9 percent from the level recorded a year ago due largely to the 19.1 percent drop in net investments in debt instruments to $335 million. Net placements of equity capital likewise declined moderately by 0.4 percent to $305 million.
On a gross basis, equity capital infusions reached $328 million, originating mainly from Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands, the United States and Luxembourg.
These placements were invested largely in manufacturing; real estate; wholesale and retail trade; information and communication; and arts, entertainment and recreation activities. Meanwhile, reinvestment of earnings grew by 24.1 percent to $59 million in December 2017.
The net inflows of foreign direct investments to the country in 2017 stand in contrast with the net outflows of portfolio funds for the same period with amounted to $205 million – a phenomenon that has continued during the first two months of 2018.
The central bank defines foreign direct investments as actual inflows from overseas, which could be in the form of equity capital, reinvestment of earnings, and borrowings between affiliates.