Lee expects the Philippines to maintain an economic growth rate of 6% in 2017. According to him, the key economic drivers are infrastructure development projects and consumer-related investments.
“Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year, he has pushed for the development of infrastructure projects – but these are not mega projects such as the construction of MRT lines,” Lee points out. Instead, these projects comprise airport upgrades around the country. “They may lead to improvements such as enabling direct flights from Singapore to Boracay, which is a popular tourist destination,” he says.
Consumer-related investment is also a key theme for investors as 70% of Philippines’s economy is driven by consumer-related businesses, according to Lee. “With a relatively young population, its ability to consume goods and services is high,” he explains. He foresees consumption to increase as more millennials enter the workforce and start contributing to household income.
Slowing (but still growing) market
Lee predicts that Singapore will continue to have the slowest economic growth in the ASEAN region – although he stresses “it is an attractive place for investment as a whole, so there are no markets to avoid”. He points out that the city state’s economy is highly dependent on trade, so it will be affected by the slowdown in global trade. Apart from that, he believes consumption-related growth will be limited due to the country’s small domestic market.