Economy likely grew over 6% in Q2 – FMIC
Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) - August 27, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s economy is forecast to expand by over six percent in the second quarter of 2014, slower than the 7.5-percent growth in the same period last year, according to First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC).

Government forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year.

In the first quarter of the year, the economy managed to expand a lower-than-expected 5.7 percent, as Super Typhoon Yolanda contributed to the poor performance.

But FMIC president Roberto Juanchito T.Dispo said clearer signs of recovery in the second quarter could serve as a positive momentum.

“We are quite confident that the economy will accelerate back towards the seven-percent growth part in the second half of 2014,” Dispo said. FMIC is a member of the Metrobank Group and one of the country’s leading investment firms.

He added that gains in industrial output look solid moving towards positive territory, employment growth at the start of the second quarter, and an anticipated momentum gain for government spending in the second semester of the year would get the Philippine economy back on track.

The FMIC executive said inflation is likely to accelerate in the third quarter to 4.8 percent or 0.5 percentage point higher than in the first three months of the year, due to the delayed importation of rice and the adverse impact on other food prices of Manila’s truck ban.

“We expect government spending to revert back to a 12-percent growth pace starting third quarter, with infrastructure spending continuing to lead the way,” Dispo said.

Exports are likewise seen to strengthen in the second semester as the US economy show solid signs of recovery with the help of speedier job creation. “China should continue to post seven-percent growth better for the second half, both adding to the demand for our export products,” the FMIC chief added.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is expected to raise policy rate by another 25 basis points (bps) and the reserve requirements by another 100 bps towards the end of the year.

FMIC said that corporate bond issuance should pick up for the rest of the second semester of 2014 as the large issuers in the market have reached the single-borrower limits (SBLs).

Meanwhile, the FMIC report cautioned that the equity market will have to absorb BSP’s tightening measures.

“Valuations remain stretched and the sustainability of valuations hinges on earnings catching up, or the economy continuing to register strong growth,” Dispo said, adding that poor first semester GDP growth would force a downward bias in revised economic forecasting.

Nonetheless, the investment firm believes that in the present state of the equity market remains positive as it continues to challenge the 7,100-level.

“With these in mind, we believe selectivity is key to outperformance and rotation to value and low beta plays are preferred. We continue to like banks due to M&A themes, potential re-rating catalyst, and gaming stocks with properties located at Entertainment City in Manila,” it added.

 

BANGKO SENTRAL DISPO ENTERTAINMENT CITY FIRST METRO INVESTMENT CORP FMIC GROWTH METROBANK GROUP ROBERTO JUANCHITO T SECOND
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