The Philippines has the most positive economic outlook for 2019 among its neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), a survey by audit firm Grant Thornton showed.
Grant Thornton said 66 percent of the Philippine respondents were “optimistic” on the country’s economic condition for 2019.
The figure is the highest in the Asean region. It was followed by Indonesia’s 61 percent. Both Malaysia and Vietnam recorded 38 percent while Singapore, 18 percent. Thailand scored the lowest at -1 percent.
Majority or two-thirds of the Filipino business leaders surveyed by the audit firm said they were “very optimistic” about the economic condition this year with their revenues expected to grow more than 5 percent.
Seventy percent expect their revenue base to continue strengthening this year, which Grant Thornton said was in contrast to the “more reserved global outlook” of 39 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,” it explained. The global outlook for 2019 was lower than previous year’s 54 percent.
Twenty-two percent forecast the same revenue level while 5 percent expect to have decreased topline figures for 2019.
Sixty-six percent plan to hike selling prices of products and services while 52 percent expressed interest in increasing exports this year, which would aid in growing their revenue base.
Majority of the business executives also said they planned to hire more in 2019 and hoped to boost their salaries over the year.
In terms of research and development, 63 percent were keen on exerting more effort. Fifty-nine percent, meanwhile, were looking forward to investing more on information technology this year.
“While the general outlook for the Philippine economy remains very optimistic, financial constraints are seen as the most significant external barrier to expanding internationally,” Grant Thornton noted.
Other factors seen hampering expansion were corruption concern, regulatory restrictions and trade tariffs.
In the Asean region, optimism stood at 42 percent overall, which is below the 64-percent record last year.
The survey was conducted during the second half of 2018 with 5,000 business leaders coming from 35 countries as respondents.
As published in The Manila Times, dated 28 January 2019