About two-thirds of Filipino business leaders are highly optimistic about the economy in 2019, making the country the most upbeat in Southeast Asia, results of Grant Thornton’s International Business Report show.

Filipino businessmen expect to earn more, charge more and employ more this year, it said. About 70 percent of executives surveyed expect revenue to increase in 2019―a contrast to the more reserved global outlook of net 39 percent. 

About 66 percent of IBR respondents also expect to increase the selling prices of their products and services, while 52 percent of those surveyed intend to increase their exports and 62 percent plan to employ more people in 2019. 

It said 65 percent of business leaders surveyed hope to increase the salaries of their employees over the next 12 months.


Optimism for the Philippines’ economic outlook in 2019 is the highest among Southeast Asian countries at net 66 percent, followed by Indonesia at net 61 percent and Vietnam and Malaysia at net 38 percent.

The report said while the general outlook for the Philippine economy remained very optimistic, financial constraints were expected to be the most significant external barrier to expanding internationally.

“It doesn’t look like a downturn is on the horizon. Sentiment has more likely decreased owing to slower trend growth, subdued inflation and low macro volatility―a so-called ‘normalizing’ of the global economy,” said P&A Grant Thornton chairperson and chief executive Marivic Españo.

The business outlook for the Philippines reflects the outlook for both Asean and the rest of Asia Pacific―optimism has slightly dropped, but the region remains more optimistic than other parts of the world. 

Optimism in Asean stands at net 42 percent, down from 64 percent in the second quarter of 2018. Optimism in the Asia Pacific region also dropped from net 55 percent to net 34 percent.

Following a period of heightened optimism and strong economic growth, the global outlook for businesses in 2019 is markedly more reserved as the economic cycle cools and political uncertainty begins to bite, according to the latest research from Grant Thornton’s IBR.

The research, which gathers responses biannually from 5,000 business leaders in 35 countries including the G20, found that global optimism is now sitting at net 39 percent, a significant fall of 15 percentage points from 54 percent in the second quarter of 2018, and the weakest score since the fourth quarter of 2016.


As published in Manila Standard, dated 28 January 2019