A survey by Canadian based Manulife Financial found that investors from the Philippines are the most bullish in Asia. They’re also more willing than others in the region to invest throughout the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

“Philippine investors remain optimistic about investing at home with the sentiment index for domestic investment at 59, the highest in Asia”, said Manulife in the Q2 edition of its Investor Sentiment Index.

They added that Philippine investors are also the most bullish on Canada and Japan with regards to growth. 19% of investors believe the Japanese economy will be the fastest growing in the next two years, followed by Canada, China and Australia. “This contrasts markedly with the average Asia investor, 27% of whom expect China’s economy to grow fastest, followed by much lower expectations for Japan, Australia and Canada”.

In the most recent survey, Indonesian investors were the second most bullish in Asia. They scored 57 on the sentiment index. Malaysians were a more distant third at 47. Investors in Singapore registered at 15, the Japanese at 14, while the Chinese scored 11.

The least optimistic were Taiwan at -1, and Hong Kong at -10.

Philippine Investors Most Bullish on Property

Property was listed as the most preferred asset. Sentiment for home property was the highest at 75, while investment property rose by four points to 74.

Fixed income saw the biggest increase, up five points to 50. Sentiment on stocks also rose by four to 45, while mutual funds rose one point to 36. Cash was the only asset class to see a decline, down nine to 73.

Despite positive sentiment, the Philippines’ GDP growth slowed to 5.7% in the first quarter of 2014. This marked the first time in nine quarters that it fell below 6%. “We believe sentiment was boosted by a credit rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s and an increase in government spending on much-needed infrastructure projects”, said Manulife.

Standard & Poor’s upgraded the Philippine’s credit to investment grade on May 8th, which is the country’s highest rating as of yet. S&P increased the country’s rating to BBB with a stable outlook from the BBB- that was issued in 2013.

Despite many positive aspects of the Philippine economy, the nation is still struggling with Southeast Asia’s highest unemployment rate.

 

About Ashoke Gupta

Ashoke is an expert in international trade and has worked in over 10 countries during his life, from Panama to Japan. He currently lives in his hometown of Mumbai and is an expert on West Asian markets.

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