Filipina CEO Circle Monthly Meeting & 2017 Economic Industry Briefing

Written by JoJo Gumino

On Thursday, January 12, 2017, the Filipina CEO Circle held their January General Membership Meeting at the Conrad Manila. It was a good time for these powerful women leaders to catch up with friends and colleagues after the holidays and reflect on the whirlwind year their organization had in 2016.

After a review of 2016 and meeting updates for plans in 2017, we were joined by our guest speaker, Hans Sicat, President & CEO of the Philippine Stock Exchange, who presented an in-depth update on the economic outlook for 2017. We were later joined by press from the Philippine Daily Inquirer for a brief Q&A session.

Key Points from Hans Sicat’s Presentation:

· Review of 2016 — Donald Trump elected POTUS, Rodrigo Duterte as Philippine President, Brexit, the US Fed raising policy rates, the slowdown of China’s economy, and oil-producing nations cutting output along with OPEC.

· 2017 Global Outlook — According to the IMF, the global economy is growing due to the major growth of emerging economies, whereas advanced economies will see growth but not as substantial. Global trade will be dictated by Brexit negotiations, Populist movements due to the refugee crisis will affect elections in key European nations, advanced economies will face structural challenges, and Geopolitical tensions will continue.

· Asia’s Regional Outlook — Consumption will remain as the region’s growth driver as we continue to see a rise in the middle class. The need for more developed infrastructure to keep pace with advanced economies will provide an influx in infrastructure investments, which will also give the region an added boost. Policies in China and Japan addressing the aging population and the weakening productivity growth will give way to open opportunities to neighboring nations. Furthermore, market volatility will continue to rise due to the uncertainty of regional cooperation from the geopolitical noise.

So the big question really is, what does this mean for the Philippines?

· Implications for the Philippines — There will be continued volatility because of institutional recommendations. 2017 will be a year of uncertainty. Economic forecasts by The World Bank and the IMF for 2017 do not agree with each other. There will be local liquidity to fund transactions as US dollars flow out of the financial system. In other words, if you are interested in buying stocks, now would be a good time to do so as the share values will drop.

There will be a solid macroeconomic story in the Philippines that will help cushion negative implications: with the continued spending of the middle class, local conglomerates in the consumer sector will continue to see large growth. There is a disconnect between the Philippines’ fundamentals and the financial markets. This really means that although it is forecasted to be a year of continued growth here in the Philippines, the current statistical data and financial market results currently don’t reflect the situation in its true form.

What does that mean for John Clements?

It means that although there is uncertainty, there are still many opportunities in our region and in our country for growth. It is an exciting time to be in the Philippines because we are one of the fastest-growing emerging economies in Southeast Asia. We will see more opportunities for EDI-Staffbuilders in areas such as Japan, as well as more opportunities with local conglomerates for all other divisions of John Clements.