Over the “speed bumps” and into six percent growth

In an article in the Philippine Star last October 7, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said the recent rate cuts implemented by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the low inflation environment (.9%) and acceleration of government spending  in the second half of 2019 would push the Philippines economy the six percent full-year growth rate.

This roughly equals last years growth and is within the average growth of the last ten years, beating expectations of a tough slowdown similar to those experienced by the European Union, Japan and other industrialized countries that have reduced their growth rate projections due to the US China trade war. 

Earlier this year, many economists predicted a slower growth below 6%, similar to Indonesia’s 5.5%. Later in the year, ratings agencies such as Fitch adjusted their forecast upward. 

Even local banks point to a 6% growth so long as inflation goes down. And of course, it did, due mainly to a reduction in the retail price of the most purchased and consuned item: rice.

This, according to the ING economist, will result in the country getting over the “speed bumps” that slowed down growth in the first semester of the year, most noteworthy of which was the delay in the congressional approval of the 2019 national budget and the Trump China Trade war.

A six percent growth rate will also mean hovering within asia’s top performing economies along with China, India and Vietnam.

Likewise headlining last week was the announcement of new possible trade with the large and well performing Russian economy, i to which increased exports of bananas and new customers for fishery products like Tuna and new markets for tourists. 

This comes on top of increased exports of bananas to Japan and Korea, and new exports of durian and young coconuts to China. China and Russia combine for a large market. 

For reference, Russia’s per capita income is about 10,000 dollars per year and its 144 million people can make for great demand for our products.

The attention the country is getting serves our products well. 

What else needs to be done? What can we do as businesspeople?

For starters, government and the private sector needs to join hands to promote Philippine products abroad in new markets like Russia and other cities in China that can import our tropical fruits and other products. 

Trade missions and similar activities need to be launched so that awareness of the Philippines and its products goes up in many target countries. Local chambers can take the initiative to organize along with foreign partners with the help of the Department of Trade and industry.

Market awareness and business matching activities are the best means to attract investments. Successful Businessmen and enterprises tend to attract others, lending credence to the old adage that success attracts success.

Apart from this, product awareness activities such as fruit  tasting and food shows can create a desire for our food products in many markets hungry for new tastes and textures. The popularity of food shows and their feature of Filipino food recipes push awareness of Pinoy food products.

These and other activities need to be launched to take advantage of the increased awareness about the Philippines and its products, particularly those we can produce well and can sell well in these countries. 

Likewise, it is time to think of expanding given the lower interest rates to be offered by many banks in response to the BSP rate cut. Take a look at credit options with your banks and credit cooperatives to expand your business.

The time to promote your products or expand your business is now. Ride the continuous growth.

For reactions: facebook.com/johntriapage