In general, Juan has money to spend, thanks to remittances coming from our OFW heroes, so circulation of that money in our local economy continues. Plus the favorable exchange rate of our peso, which means higher purchase power for those who earn and receive foreign currencies.
Aside from money to spend, savings rate has been improving as well, up to 33% of GDP in 2012 from 18% in the 90s. With more savings, hopefully Juan is becoming more and more financially literate, starting with his emergency funds, then protection, then eventually some more risk taking in terms of investments.
More and more manufacturers (case in point automobiles) are once again considering the country as their manufacturing hub. Lower debt for the country as a whole, coming from more judicious borrowing and strength of internal economic activity, while on the opposite better international reserves.
Window Demographic Sweet Spot
This is the first time I’m hearing this but this sounds mysteriously inspiring. This is said to be the time when our population has below 30% of aged less than or equal to 15 while those aged 65 or higher is less than 15%. Which means 55% of our population is aged 16 to 64, considered to be the more economically productive and income-earning ages, which means more Juan who can earn his keep and take part in economic growth. This is expected in 2015, to last until 2050, and based from observations in other countries, there is indeed a positive correlation between this window and advanced economic growth.
If there are key drivers, of course there will be challenges as well. The article cited the truck ban in Manila City which could be a cause of slower movement and transport of goods which means slower economic activity. Another is the cost of power which is a by product of lack of supply (good time to invest in power companies?). Another is the over supply in high end real estate property (there are few high end customers actually) while there is still backlog in mass housing requirements, for those with lower socio-economic status.
Oh, and also our PSE remains overvalued in terms of P/E ratio compared to regional peers.
The article did not include it, but I think other risks will be political risk, congestion risk and natural risk.
Political in a sense locally and internationally, we are viewed to still have high trust in our government leadership. But given the mind-boggling scams and the upcoming elections, will this trust and stability continue?
Congestion risk in terms of worsening traffic in Metro Manila, which also affects economic activity. Congestion in terms of the much-delayed government infrastructure projects (PPPs), which are meant to make lives easier in the long run, but for now will further aggravate traffic situations in affected areas. Congestion in terms of the limited capacity of NAIA, and how we lose money, time and tourism in the process.
Natural risk in terms of disasters: typhoons which are yearly and mega-earthquake, which is expected to hit Metro Manila anytime now. Is the country ready to mitigate the devastation brought by this, and if ever, how resilient will the economy and consumer confidence be if these disasters hit the center of Philippine economic activity: Metro Manila?
Oh, and the government’s stand on responsible mining and whether we should be more aggressive (yet responsible) in harnessing our natural resources. If we are too conservative in this regard, don’t we risk losing opportunity and failing to capitalize on this good economy (so far) and the demographic sweet spot? Add to this the recently conquered Benham Rise. How can the Philippines capitalize on this new piece of submarine land?