Search Results for: www

Starting in real-estate investing

wpid-gold-real-estate3A lot of people would want to invest in real estate and yet many are wondering the right way to do so. Carl Dy, an experienced real-estate investor and one of the leading resources on real-estate investing gives you a few tips that will make you understand how to build your wealth through the use of properties.


One of the paths to take to becoming wealthy is to make your money work as hard as you do. There is one thing that both the rich and the poor have equal amounts of. That is time, we all have 24 hours a day, and how much money you make (and save) in that daily 24 hour cycle will determine how early you are able to reach your financial goal.

With that in mind, they key strategy is to make sure you maximize your 24-hour cycle and create as much income stream as you can. You can categorize your income stream in 2 main categories: Man at Work, and Money at Work.

Man at work obviously refers to what you do with your physical self. Your talents, skills and creativity in being a solution to a problem allow you to charge a certain fee. This can be in the form of your salary or business profits.

Money at work refers to your money kept in a product that gives you a certain amount in return or simply put, what we call investments. This can be your investment in bank products, in equities, in a business, in bonds and in real property. The speed at which money is given back to you is what we call rate of return.

Property has been known to be a classic and proven product that gives a good return on your investment. Ask your elders about the price of the land in which you live now and compare it to how it was priced before. It would have most likely gone up double, triple or 10 times the original price depending on how far back in time you compare the prices to.

How do you get started in investing in real estate? Here are 4 major steps that you should go through, to get yourself familiarized before you make your first purchase:


Want to learn more about these 4 steps ? Catch property investor Carl Dy at ICON 2014 this May 17 at SMX Pasay City as he talks more about the 4 steps in getting started in real estate. For more information on iCON 2014, visit




Last episode of Money Talks

It is with a heavy heart to announce that my radio show at 106.7 Energy FM, MONEY TALKS will be airing its last episode this Saturday, April 12, 2014. The station is under-going reformatting and our personal finance program has been cancelled because of it.


The program has been running less than a year but we are happy that in our own way, many Filipinos here and abroad have been helped by to show to be one step closer to financial peace. We wish to thank Ms. Becca Sy for giving us the opportunity to put Money Talks on air and we will forever be grateful for this opportunity. We also wish to thank the whole team of Energy FM and it was indeed a pleasure being part of this station.

For our final episode, we would have two great guest with two different stories — but both of them are insightful and inspiring.

marvin faustoMarvin Fausto is formerly the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of the country’s largest bank with the country’s largest funds. Marvin is an advocate of investment education and is a sought after speaker in the field of investments. He is an accomplished fund manager winning several awards in the past and a favorite resource expert in the field of investing. He is married to Rose Fres Fausto, an author and columnist and together they have raised financial smart children and they are now advocates of family finance & investing. Marvin Fausto is featured in iCon 2014 on May 17, 2014 at the SMX.

Jekoy Valle started with very humble beginnings. He was a youth who has lost all hope and was unsure of 1621734_10152007067309442_1334616089_na future. He was blessed to be a scholar of Real Life Foundation and due to the grant and because of hard work and determination, he is now  in the corporate world as a recruitment officer. Jekoy is also a very popular event host today and is on his way to more success!

Catch us this Saturday, April 12, 2014 for the very last episode of Money Talks at 106.7 Energy FM, 9 to 11pm.

Co-hosted by JM Dela Rama.







Catch me in Doha and Dubai!

To the OFWs based in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, UAE — catch me at my events!

To register for the Doha event, please get in touch with


To register for the Dubai event, please get in touch with



It’s back… iCon 2014!

We are pleased to announce that the biggest Investment Conference is back…

iCon 2014 !!!

This year’s offering is bigger and better and with more experts.

May 17 2014 at the SMX (Mall of Asia); 8:30am to 5:30pm.

To register, visit



Outlook break: Clues or clueless?

Since I’ve been posting a outlooks daily, I felt this is an opportune time to do a series break and post some form of an outlook but bot an economic or financial one. There are many factors that affect performances of an economy an industry and a corporation and the here’s what the country’s leading motivational speaker, writer & consultant Francis J. Kong has to say…

Clues or Clueless by Francis J. Kong

The latest CES (Consumer Electronics Show), an annual event held in Las Vegas that features the “hot electronic/digital gadgets” to watch out for this year gives us a clue as to what to expect for the year. Most of the products featured deal with wearable tech.

But here is the problem. All the Smart watches and the fitness tracking device (I wear one myself) is already a saturated market with so many players in the game but the promised demand is not there. It seems that the clue to the new year and what to expect is at the same time clueless as to what would happen this year. One TV news anchor says these companies do not seem to know what to do and are clueless.

Many company leaders are also clueless. They do not know why good people are leaving.  Managers stick to old management behaviour and wonder why there is very little engagement happening between managers and their direct reports. Meanwhile Generation Y hops from one company to another.

Here is what I see for this year…

Many companies registered growth last year but failed to make their targets due to natural calamities both natural and man-made.
Failure to hit targets means no incentive trips, no fancy perks  and people need all the inspiration they can muster in order to reach this year’s goals.Leaders should work double time inspiring the team to do their best and hit targets.

Talent acquisition and talent retention will become major challenges.
HR practitioners are aware of this…well most of them do anyways while others are facing the difficulty of dealing with their bosses who still embrace last century management mindsets and are totally clueless as to how to deal with the dynamic millennials entering their work place.

Leadership Gaps continue to permeate.
Employee engagement is a desired outcome and in many internal studies and surveys, this area needs major improvements.

Creativity and Innovation rules!
Ideas are the currency of the future. Leaders need to generate creative ideas through their people but would they be willing unless they are inspired? The first half of last year was rosy. Growth was phenomenal. I see this year as another year of growth but leaders need to grow their people so they can grow the business. But the tricky part here is for leaders to first grow themselves so they can lead their people more effectively.

This year will carry challenges and growth will not be handed to us on a silver platter. We all just have to work a little harder.


Francis KongOne of the most prominent public speakers in the country, Francis Kong, is the founding member and Director of Inspire Leadership Consultancy. He has extensive experiences in manufacturing and retail and founded one of the most popular clothing companies.

Francis Kong’s extensive work experiences have given him enough credibility making him one of the most sought-after speakers here in the Philippines. He has written 10 books, “The Early Bird Catches the Worm” which now has been translated into the Korean language and “One Day at a Time” which has been given a most favorable review by Channel News Asia of Singapore.

Currently Francis Kong has a daily Radio Program entitled “Business Matters”, which was given a Year 2007 special citation by the CMMA (Catholic Mass Media Awards). Aside from his daily radio program he also writes for the Business Page of Philippine Star every Saturdays and Sundays. He regularly guests every Thursday morning at ABS-CBN’s morning show Umagang Kay Ganda. He conducts some of the best programs of Inspire.


2014 Outlook, part 8

The past outlook has focused largely on the Philippines so this is an opportunity to show an outlook with a global view but with from the perspective of a Filipino. I am honored to be presenting the views of my good friend, an expert in international investing, Mr. Jess Emerson Uy.

 The 2014 Outlook of Jess Uy

I. 2014 Global Outlook

One of my rule of thumbs is to never chase after performance. Whatever you see in the top 10 list may not perform as well in 2014 as these are all historical figures. There is a hint that there may still be spillover effects to the next year (2014) albeit at a much slower pace than 2013’s breakneck pace. Europe may still be an area that may still have some growth story but nobody really knows for sure. There is still some momentum for both USA and Europe although I suspect it will not beat 2013.

I highly encourage everyone to look at the underlying fundamentals of the markets that you are investing in. For long-term investors, emerging markets are starting to look attractive again. Since everyone has a different definition of “long-term”, let me define mine:

Short Term: 1-3 years

Medium Term: 3-10 years

Long Term: 10-30 years and beyond

Global Economic Outlook

The global economy is growing, which should influence investors to take on more risk instead of being “stuck” with guaranteed, or semi-guaranteed instruments. Cyclical markets including Asia ex Japan and Emerging Markets may rebound due to the positive spillover effects from strengthening global economies.

Nonetheless, more “Tapering” is still possible although more investors have increasingly priced it into their investment decisions. The general positive outlook for 2014 will also encourage risk-taking, which should be a positive for riskier assets.

A lot of talk has been swirling around interest rates for the past years as developed markets have reach historically low Interest rates. An upward change in direction of interest rates is unavoidable. This can be trouble for a lot of traditional bondholders due to the inverse relationship between bond prices and yields. However, there are still some actively managed pooled bond funds that can make money by managing currency, credit and interest-rate risks independently. Positioning defensively with shorter bond durations can mitigate interest rate risks.

Investment Themes

There is a possibility that we may see new market highs especially in developed markets as earnings continue to grow in 2014. If you are into pooled funds, selecting fund managers who are good in active management might be a good idea as good stock picking skills would be helpful in an environment where the market has already gone up significantly.

If you like fixed income (bonds), selecting fund managers who have the flexibility to deliver performance from currency positioning, credit selection and sector allocation would be helpful.

In general, the cyclical sector is likely to outperform the non-cyclical (defensive) sectors. Examples of cyclical stocks are those companies in the financial sector, consumer discretionary (travel and leisure, hotels, restaurants, airlines, retailers, media companies, consumer services companies, apparel companies, automobiles and components companies) and many more – those that does well when the economy is doing well. These are things that people can afford and willing to spend on when they have money and when they feel safer with their job security. These are also the same items that people cut down as soon as they feel insecure with their jobs or if an economic recession seems to be near.

Food, power, water and gas are examples of non-cyclical or defensive stocks as they are “recession-proof” and provide a lot of stability in an investor’s portfolio. Whether the economy is doing well or not, people still need these things.

2013’s neglected markets like Asia ex Japan and Emerging Markets (particularly China) offer attractive valuations for long-term investors. Some of the worst performing funds in 2013 may also have a chance to recover nicely over the long-term.

Investment Ideas to Consider

Although there are attractive valuations for Asia ex Japan and other Emerging Markets, I would encourage people to invest in a properly diversified investment portfolio according to their objectives, risk tolerance and timeframe. A properly diversified investment portfolio can help investors benefit from the upside of riskier assets while also enabling them to potentially buffer downside risks.

Nonetheless, this is a quick summary of investment ideas:

1. Overweight equities over bonds. The economic environment remains highly supportive of equities. Earnings growth can help achieve better returns

2. Asia ex Japan equities attractive for long-term investors: stronger growth in developed economies will provide a boost for Asian exports. However, caution is required as there are still risks in this sector. Developed markets may still rally in the short to medium term.

3. Single-country markets with a “very attractive” potential include China, Hong Kong and South Korea for medium to long-term investors. These are mostly geographies with lots of export related industries. Hong Kong in particular is the world’s largest re-export centre.

4. Developed equity markets still attractive, but lower potential upside

5. Look for China equities to shine, exercise caution on Australia

6. Patience is required for some South East Asian markets especially Indonesia and Thailand. These are typically markets that perform well over long-term but investors must be able to stomach the volatility due to natural disasters, political instability or other external factors.

7. Fixed income still relevant, but be selective on segments

8. “Investment” is the new form of savings; Short duration bond funds can be good alternative to savings as it offers the chance to beat savings deposit rates to lower the effects of inflation, which is eroding the value of cash holdings

9. Focus on companies with strong earnings and cash flows. The ability to grow in a slow economic recovery will be helpful especially if they can use their extra monies wisely when opportunities arise. There are lots of companies nowadays that are richer than their own countries’ governments.

10. Companies that can continue to innovate or have pricing power (or both) should perform well in this current environment.

For those keen to review the highlights of global market’ performances in 2013, here is a short summary of selected markets, followed by a more detailed global overview for last year.


II. 2013 Selected Market Highlights

USA: +29.60% (in USD terms); +33.90% (in SGD terms) in 2013; best performance since 1997

Japan: +56.70% (in JPY terms); +33.00% (in SGD terms) in 2013; best calendar year performance since 1972

Europe: +26.70% (in SGD terms) in 2013; turnaround story, one of the most hated and bottom performing markets in 2011 and 2012

Philippines: +1.30% (in PHP terms) in 2013; worst performance since 2008

Thailand: -6.70% (in THB terms); -10.00% (in SGD terms) in 2013; economic growth revised downward while political unrest hit the currency

Indonesia: Flat performance (in IDR terms); -19.20% (in SGD terms) in 2013; steep currency depreciation of the Indonesian Rupiah

Brazil: -24.20% in 2013 (in SGD terms); steep currency depreciation of the Brazilian Real (sold off heavily)


III. 2013 Global Review

2008 was considered to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930s and in the last 5 years, the developed markets have “printed” a lot of monies to help save their economies. It has not stopped yet but there are signs that the USA is starting to look into slowing down their money printing activities (quantitative easing) as their economy is improving bit by bit. Nonetheless, due to the massive amounts of money injected into the monetary system, investors from the developed markets had to find other places to put their monies other than their own countries which was already suffering heavily from the threat of the total collapse of large financial institutions, bank bailouts by national governments and the downward spiral of the stock markets around the world.

The most logical choice for investors to aggressively grow their monies once the market rebounds is to buy into emerging market countries where even the blue chip stocks were beaten down significantly. It looks like a very smart move while waiting for their own countries’ economies to rebound.

A quick scan of the top performing funds in the last 5 years will show that those who diversified and tried this strategy reaped significant rewards. A quick look at the top performing global funds available through Singapore shows that the top funds were rotating among the emerging markets (with the exception of 2013):

In 2009, Indonesia topped the list with a performance of 137.99%

In 2010, Thailand topped the list with a performance of 48.60%

In 2011, Malaysia topped the list with a performance of 9.90%

In 2012, Turkey topped the list with a performance of 64.90%

In 2013, USA topped the list with a performance of 70.60%

So what exactly happened in 2013? Well, the US economy has been showing signs of improvements and their stock market rallied significantly. In general, 2013 has been an excellent year for developed market equities to the detriment of emerging markets. Global investors from the developed world have started taking profits and pulling out their monies from the emerging markets and putting it back into their home countries. News of the USA initiating “tapering” or slowing down of “money printing” moved the markets while several emerging market currencies were also depreciating against the US Dollar.

This would probably explain why the Philippine market dropped significantly from the May 2013 peak when foreign investors started selling their emerging market holdings. Out of the Top 10 funds ranked by performance for 2013, 50% of the list were composed of single country funds purely exposed to the USA followed by European equities taking 30% of the top 10 list namely Germany, Italy and Spain. 80% of the funds in the list are coming from developed markets. Middle Eastern Equities and Global Healthcare Equities were also able to crack the Top 10 best performing funds.

2013 Best Performing Equity Funds

S/N Market 2013
1 US Equities 70.6%
2 Middle East Equities 52.8%
3 Global Healthcare 49.4%
4 US Small Caps 45.2%
5 Germany Equities 43.9%
6 US Equities 43.3%
7 Italy Equities 43.3%
8 Spain Equities 43.2%
9 US Equities 42.1%
10 US Equities 40.2%

Global Retail Funds available via Singapore
Data as of 31 December 2013 in SGD terms, dividends reinvested

Similarly for the bonds sector, out of the Top 10 funds ranked by performance for 2013, 50% of the list was also exposed to the USA followed by European bonds taking 30% of the top 10 list. The High Yield bonds dominated the list although investors should understand that high yield bonds are rated lower than investment grade bonds and have a higher risk of default. Nonetheless, due to the improving global economy, investors are willing to take more risks thus pushing up the high yield bond segment. High yield bonds are also known as “Junk Bonds” which typically offers higher coupons (interest) than investment grade bonds and these High Yield Bonds usually have shorter duration.


2013 Best Performing Fixed Income (Bond) Funds

S/N Market 2013
1 Europe Convertibles 18.1%
2 Europe High Yield 17.5%
3 US High Yield 15.0%
4 US High Yield 12.0%
5 US High Yield 10.5%
6 Europe Bonds 10.3%
7 Multi-sector Bonds 9.8%
8 US High Yield 9.6%
9 US High Yield 9.0%
10 Global High Yield 8.6%

Global Retail Funds available via Singapore
Data as of 31 December 2013 in SGD terms, dividends reinvested


Jess UyJess Uy is a Filipino investment expert based in Singapore. He is investment adviser not only to Filipino but for many expatriates in Singapore. He is considered as foremost expert in the arena of investing  – ranging from banking, fund management, mutual funds, etc.  His topic will delve on a proper process that you need before you invest and will give the participant an objective and yet insightful understanding on the do, don’ts, how’s and what’s of investing. He is a sought after resource for international investing and has appeared on TV, radio and other media.


2014 Outlook, part 7

It is my pleasure to presenting the views of Prof. James Lago of the PCCI. James is one of those experts that I often consult especially with the technicals of investing. His views have both macro and micro perspective and many have found his views helpful.James is also an esteemed colleague from the Registered Financial Planner Institute.

The 2014 Outlook of James Lago

On the PSEi

After being the region’s second best performer by May last year, the PSEi reversed course and ended 2013 with a gain of only 1.33%. The bullish trend since its recovery in 2009 remains intact. 2014 starts with the leading and trailing relative valuations at reasonable levels although these are still above its historical averages, as well as the regional average. We anticipate that equity prices will not be as volatile compared to last year. Investors remain optimistic that the Philippine economy could post a 6.0% GDP growth, at least, for this year, albeit slower than 2013’s clip. Corporate earnings are seen to be mixed given issues affecting some sectors. As a whole, our base case scenario for the PSEi this year is range bound trading within a 5,800 – 6,800 range. We view this as a fresh base building for a resumption of the major uptrend in the future.

On the peso-dollar

The peso exhibited its historical tendency to depreciate sharply as it surpassed the 43.00 – 44.00 resistance we expected, touching a 3-year low of 44.75 versus the U.S. dollar in late-August. The overall movement in 2013 was a 43.66% retracement of the November 2008 – January 2013 appreciation and has begun to recouple again with the US dollar’s gradual appreciation. Given the continued flow back into U.S. dollar assets, as well as developed markets, by foreign investors, the peso’s depreciation will most likely continue into 2014. The minor resistances of this depreciation are seen at 45.40 and 46.00. An
appreciation within the year to around 43.00 or even 42.70 is possible as another round of portfolio inflows cannot be discounted within the year.

On domestic yields

Given the calibrated monetary stimulus tapering that will be done by the U.S. Fed staring in January, we expect the yield curve to gradually shift upward. Excess liquidity and portfolio inflows into peso-denominated fixed income securities will most likely keep the rise gradual overall. We expect the negative real returns on short-term yields to continue into 2014. Yields on the longer-tenor instruments will certainly be higher as a result of the Fed’s action as U.S. treasury yields are the global benchmark. The spread between the average short-term and long-term yields will most likely move within a 280 – 330 bps range within the year as investors will continue to find ways around the yield levels. The yield curve is also seen to remain normal and will most likely surpass the end-2012 yield levels.

On the economy

For 2014, our initial GDP growth forecast range is 6.0% – 7.0%. Behind this is household spending (HFCE) projected to rise by 5.5% – 6.0%, the manufacturing sector continuing its above historical average expansion of around 7.0% – 8.0%, exports recovering by a modest 4.0% – 5.0%, the construction sector growing by above 10.0% as a result of
the reconstruction to be undertaken in the calamity damaged provinces, continued infrastructure spending private sector contribution. The services sector expansion is still seen to be an above-average 6.0%-7.0%.


james lagoJoseph James Lago is the Head of the PCCI Securities Brokers Corp. He has over 2 decades of experience in the investments industry in various capacities. He is also a professor of the De La Salle University Graduate School teaching in Management and Economics. He is a much sought after researcher, economist and analysts. He is a Registered Financial Panner.


Francis Kong: Managing self and leading others

It’s about time we invest in ourselves and be the best we can be. Here’s a highly recommended program by the country’s leading motivational speaker, Francis Kong.


For inquiries, send an email to



2014 Outlook, part 6

It is always a pleasure to present the views of one of the persons I admire a lot, a former colleague and now the CEO of the country’s largest life insurance company, Riza Gervasio Mantaring. A marathon runner, Riza’s disciplined approach in life helped her propel Sun Life to the top spot. I also admire Ms. Mantaring’s passion to help improve the nation’s financial literacy through many endeavors.


The 2014 Outlook of Riza Mantaring

2013 was the proverbial “start with a bang, end with a whimper” year. While fundamentals in the Philippines remained solid, changes in the external environment dragged the market down so that we basically ended the year back where we started.

So as we start 2014, to what do we have to look forward?

The first half of the year is likely to be volatile as the US winds down its economic stimulus program given its improving economy. Performance of its equity markets in 2013 has been stellar, reflecting the outflow of funds from developing economies back to the more developed markets.

Inflation may creep upwards, possibly curbing spending which has been driving our economy. In terms of public spending, government rehabilitation efforts in quake and typhoon-hit areas may somewhat offset the withdrawal of the PDAF and DAP, and hopefully PPP projects finally get underway at the pace necessary to sustain growth.

With an expectation of higher inflation,  we may see local bond rates continue to creep up.  Likewise, with a weaker earnings growth expectation from the banking sector, we are anticipating lower aggregate earnings growth for the market.

Still, despite a possibly volatile first half of 2014, the second half of the year should be more positive as we get better indicators on company earnings growth and the progress of government infrastructure spending. Longer term, the Philippines remains a favored destination and is forecast to continue its rapid growth over the next few years.

As to where the market will end?  We expect a base scenario of 6500 for the Phisix, possibly reaching 6800.  Remember, though, that the best time to buy is when the news is negative, not when it is positive!


riza mantaringRiza Mantaring is the President & CEO of the Sun Life Financial group of companies in the Philippines, and a member of its various boards.She started out in Information Technology and took on various roles through her 20+ years at Sun Life before becoming CEO.

Riza is a member of the Sun Life Asia Leadership Team.  She has also participated in various international special projects and teams such as the task force for worldwide restructuring of the company, the task force for business processes, and special teams for Mergers & Acquisitions.

In 2010, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the University of the Philippines College of Engineering, she was selected one of the 100 Most Outstanding Alumni of the past century. In 2011, she was named by Moneysense Magazine one of the 12 Most Influential in Personal Finance, and became a recipient of the 2011 CEO EXCEL award given by the International Association of Business Communicators.  Riza was recognized for bold and innovative programs and harnessing the power of communication to implement these programs, including the multi-awarded and pioneering “It’s Time!” financial literacy advocacy.

Riza graduated with a B.S. Electrical Engineering degree (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines, and an M.S. Computer Science from the State University of New York at Albany.  She has also attended numerous executive development programs conducted by Harvard University, The Wharton School, Duke University, Oxford University, Asian Institute of Management, and The Niagara Institute.  She is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (with distinction).

She has been a board director of the Philippine Life Insurance Association since 2011 and is currently its Treasurer, and served as a board director of the Philippine Federation of Pre-need Companies from 2006-2008.


2014 Outlook, part 5

It is both an honor and privilege to be presenting the views of one of the most respected economist of the country and a very dear colleague, Dr. Alvin Ang. I always run to Dr. Ang for help in anything that deals with economics and he has always been there to help. Aside from being a well respected economist, Dr. Ang’s heart to help uplift the nation is something I have always admired.

The 2014 Outlook of Dr. Alvin P. Ang, Ph

The Philippine Economy in 2014: Bring in the Good out of the Bad

2013 will be one for the history books for what transpired in the Philippines.  The economic performance that outpaced the rest of ASEAN probably grew 7% in 2013.  Backed by the investment upgrades of the major ratings agency, the economic performance helped push equities to all time highs until the middle of the year. Nonetheless, these good reports were soon crowded by external pressures led by the quantitative easing plan by the US Fed and various internal man-made and natural disasters.  All told, strong typhoons hit the north and central areas coupled with the strong earthquake. The Zamboanga incursion and the PDAF issue are big man-made disasters that also barreled through.

Did the bads cancel out the goods? It is very unlikely that the Philippines will reverse its current upward economic growth trend. The reason for this are as follows:

Firstly, the momentum for growth has pushed strong domestic capital formation.  Private sector is building and expanding capacities for production. This is validated by the above 5% growth in durable equipment for the last 8 quarters.  This is confirmed by robust growth in manufacturing which (contributes to about 20% of GDP) is also experiencing a similar above 5% growth in last 8 quarters. The rebound of the US (our largest trading partner) and the becoming expensive China open good opportunities to support export growth. similarly the growth in support services in the BPO, tourism and private construction sector will be modest but will continue to be robustly close to the higher single digit.

Second, the impact of the disasters will push public sector expenditures to even higher levels. Public construction, in particular, is now at 1/3 of private construction. In the past, it hardly reached 1/5.  This will probably be higher in next 3 to 4 years as the reconstruction requirements of the affected regions will require strong government support.  Furthermore, public services expansion in the form of education, health and basic social support to reconstruct human capital formation.  This is already seen in the approved supplemental budget for reconstruction in 2014.  Pressures to ensure proper usage of these funds will make the national budget much more efficient and put to direct use.  Likewise, all forms of aid from international and local sources will continue to come in phases providing additional fund base.

Thirdly, budgetary reforms including the direct use of the approved budget will facilitate expenditures. Moreover, the investment upgrades will allow the country to access the international funds market easily for additional budgetary support.  This is now starting with the launch of the 10 year Philippine Global Fund.

Finally, the OFW remittance will remain as the robust financial support for sustained personal consumption expenditures.  On the monthly basis, the remittances has breach the USD2Bn in October 2013.  For full year 2013, this has probably reached more than USD22Bn or a growth of above 5%. Remittances also is seen to increase to support private reconstruction efforts as anecdotally observed last November – December of 2013 and in previous disasters. This should help lead to a remittance growth of about 7% pushing it to USD 24 Bn this 2014.  All told, these conditions are seen to help push 2014 GDP growth to a low of 7% and possibly to a higher 7.5% as all these go full steam.

The main concern apart from the challenges out of reforms is the physical impact of the disasters.  These have brought damage to agriculture which is connected to food prices which in turn could lead to inflationary pressures. Coupled with the looming increase in electricity rates, households may experience upward price pressures.The quantitative easing also shows that there will be less dollars in the economy than before which depreciate the peso to about 45 to 1. This is good for OFWs and exporters but could also lead to higher prices particularly of imported inputs. Finally, a lot of funds out of the SDA are still in the system and not finding their ways to productive pursuits.  These could challenge the relatively low inflation rate regime we have been experiencing and consequently the low interest environment.  However, we do not see inflation beyond 5% unless significant supply constraints occur in food and electricity.

While GDP growth for 2014 will likely remain at around 7%, price pressures may cause equities to move tentative and upside potential for interest rates for this year. However, more than the price pressures is the opportunity to improve the disaster affected regions.  These have continuously been high poverty and low productivity areas. If the reconstruction is done right – it will be good for long term growth.  Overall, the growth story will be the same but the critical factor is its sustainability and inclusivity.  A growth that is able to expand its base will certainly be better than a one time event.  Investing in the Philippines is believing that its growth potential is becoming broader and larger segments are benefiting.  At this perspective, its present value is still quite affordable.

Blessings for a great 2014 and beyond!


Alvin Ang_3_NEWAlvin P. Ang has more than 20 years of professional experience in both public and private sectors.  He started his Economist experience with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of the Philippines where he developed his skills in Development Planning, Policy Formulation and Analysis.  He also worked in Investment Research and Economic Forecasting with his stints at the Philippine National Bank and All Asia Capital as Chief Corporate Planner and as Economist, respectively.  Within those periods, he has been teaching part-time at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.  In 1999, he joined the academe as full-time Faculty member after completing his Master in Public Policy at the National University of Singapore as a Scholar of the Singapore Government.  He went on to complete his Ph.D. in Applied Economics at Osaka University in 2006 as a Japanese Government Scholar.  He has published in renowned journals such as the Review of Development Economics, Asia Pacific Social Science Review, among others.  His research fields are in Labor and Development Economics and his research interests include Privatization and Development Finance.  His researches on Remittances and Economic Growth in the Philippines have been widely circulated.  He has also consulted for the World Bank, World Health Organization, the European Union, Asian Development Bank, International Labor Organization and the USAID on policy matters. He recently won the first prize (together with Jeremaiah Opiniano) in the Outstanding Research for Development in the 2011 Global Development Awards (besting 400 entries worldwide)  held in Bogota, Colombia.  He is a lifetime member of the Philippine Economics Society where he currently the President.  He is an advocate of responsible personal finance and has lectured on this topic in many fora.  Presently, he is a Full Professor of Economics at the University of Santo Tomas.