Global firms’ business optimism in the Philippines for the first quarter of the year is higher than the average Asean rate, a global business survey show.

Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), a global business survey of 2,500 businesses in 36 economies, showed that business optimism in the Philippines is at 56 percent, higher than Asean’s 45.7 percent.

The Philippine rating is second best among Asean-5, behind Indonesia’s optimistic outlook of 57 percent.

The IBR, however, noted that business optimism of global firms in the Philippines fell in the first quarter of the year from 84 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
The report explained this follows the global trend with business optimism, which dropped to its lowest in three years.

“A range of external factors will have played their role, not least the volatility we saw in financial markets in the first quarter, which will have knocked sentiment,” said P&A Grant Thornton Chairman and CEO Marivic Españo.

“However, when businesses look internally at their own operations, the outlook is much brighter. Despite the wider uncertainty, many surveyed firms in the Philippines are confident about their prospects for revenue and employment plans,” Españo added.

The survey showed that in terms of revenues, 74 percent of the respondents were looking forward to increasing their revenues, while another 76 percent are optimistic to post higher profits in the Philippines.

Global firms are also bullish in investing in the country both in buildings, as well as in plant and machinery.

About 38 percent said they will increase investments in building in the next 12 months while 48 percent will be investing more on plant and machinery.

International businesses likewise will generate more jobs in the country as 52 percent said they will increase employment in the Philippines.

Furthermore, the IBR noted that among the growth initiatives of global businesses in the Philippines for the next 12 months include increasing investments in marketing, improving sales force effectiveness, and incentive productivity improvements.

As published in Business Mirror dated 13 April 2016