Panos Mourdoukoutas , CONTRIBUTOR
I cover global markets, business and investment strategy
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/ AFP PHOTO / Ted ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
President Rodrigo Duterte’s death squads may have killed democracy in the Philippines, but they haven’t killed the country’s vibrant economy, which is the world’s 10th fastest growing economy in the world in 2017.
That’s according to the World Bank’s latest edition of Global Economic Prospects. For 2017, Philippines’ economy is expected to advance between 6.5 to 7.5 percent. That’s almost twice the country’s long-term growth.
GDP Annual Growth Rate in Philippines averaged 3.68 percent from 1982 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 12.40 percent in the fourth quarter of 1988 and a record low of -11.10 percent in the first quarter of 1985, according to Tradingeconomics.com.
The Philippines economy has benefited from a stable macroeconomic environment of low inflation and low debt to GDP ratio, which has helped sustain a healthy domestic demand growth; and from a revival of the Asian Pacific region that have boosted exports, which account for close to a third of GDP. Exports from the Philippines rose 12.1 percent from a year earlier to USD 4.81 billion in April of 2017.
Apparently, President Duterte’s harsh domestic policies and foreign policy flip-flops haven’t undermined Philippines economic growth, at least not yet. But they have touched the country’s equity markets, which have underperformed the markets of the region.
iShares MSCI Philippines (EPHE)
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM)
Market Vectors Vietnam ETF (VNM)
Source: E*Trade.com 12/20/2017
Meanwhile, Duterte’s Philippines is getting corrupt and less competitive, according to Transparency International and the Global Competitiveness reports, raising serious doubts as to whether the current robust economic growth rates will be sustained in the future.
Those who have followed the Philippines economy for a long time have seen a familiar show: hard working Filipinos remain poor, watching the people of other nations in the region get rich. Revolutions come and go in Philippines, but the old villains -- corruption and political oppression -- remain intact, holding Filipinos back from making the transition from poverty to riches.