Net foreign direct investments (FDI) reached an all-time high of $10.049 billion in 2017, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Monday, up by 21.4 percent year-on-year and exceeding the full-year target of $8 billion.
“Investors continue to view the country as a favorable investment destination on the back of … sound macroeconomic fundamentals and growth prospects,” the central bank said in a statement.
Bangko Sentral Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. expressed optimism that FDI flows would remain strong this year, telling reporters this was “the whole point of improving our investment climate through various range of policies” that include easing the cost of doing business and financial system enhancements.
Security Bank economist Angelo Taningco said the 2017 result was boosted by strong economic fundamentals that were reinforced by a fiscal stimulus program and the BSP’s accommodative monetary policy.
“This year, my FDI net inflow forecast is $9.5 billion, which reflects the ongoing positive economic momentum to be driven by a stronger public infra spending push, more tax reform efforts and sustained monetary policy stance amid higher domestic inflation and volatility in financial markets,” Taningco said.
All major FDI components, the BSP reported, registered increases during the year.
Net equity capital investments expanded by 25.9 percent to $3.26 billion, with gross placements of $3.74 billion exceeding withdrawals of $479 million.
The equity capital placements originated largely from the Netherlands, Singapore, the United States, Japan and Hong Kong and were channeled mainly to gas, steam and air-conditioning supply; manufacturing; real estate; construction; and wholesale and retail trade activities.
Reinvestments of earnings increased by 9.3 percent to $776 million.
Net availment of debt instruments, meanwhile, rose by 20.7 percent year-on-year to $6.0 1 billion.
Debt instruments consist mainly of intercompany borrowings/lending between foreign direct investors and their subsidiaries/affiliates in the Philippines.
For the month of December 2018, however, net inflows eased to $699 million, down from November’s $990 million and also 9 percent lower than a year earlier.
The central bank attributed the decline to a 19.1-percent drop to $335 million in net debt instrument investments.