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Philippines Economic and Performance Indicators November 2017


PBBC membersas presented at

the recent Breakfast meeting

of the PBBC

in London

Gross Domestic Product

• The Philippine’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2017. GDP grew by 6.5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and 6.4 percent in the first half of the year.

• Manufacturing, Trade, and Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities were the main drivers of growth for the quarter.

• Among the major economic sectors, Industry recorded the fastest growth of 7.5 percent followed by Services with 7.1 percent growth. Meanwhile, Agriculture slowed down by 2.5 percent from 3.0 percent growth in the previous year.

• Net Primary Income from the Rest of the World (NPI) grew by 5.7 percent compared with the 4.1 percent growth recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. As a result, Gross National Income (GNI) posted a growth of 6.7 percent.

• With the country’s projected population reaching 104.9 million in the third quarter of 2017, per capita GDP grew by 5.4 percent. Meanwhile per capita GNI and per capita Household Final Consumption Expenditure grew by 5.2 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

Trade / Exports / Imports

• From January to June 2017 (First Semester), Philippines’ total external trade in goods was recorded at $75.586 billion, expanding by 15.3 percent from $65.579 billion in 2016.

• Total imports payments went up by 14.3 percent to $44.302 billion in 2017 from $38.746 billion in 2016, whereas, total export receipts grew by 16.6 percent to $31.284 billion in 2017 from $26.832 billion in 2016.

• This brought the country’s balance of trade in goods (BoT-G) at $13.017 billion deficit in January to June 2017, higher than the $11.914 billion deficit in same period of 2016.


• The year-on-year headline inflation at the national level further accelerated by 3.5 percent in October 2017. In the previous month, inflation was posted at 3.4 percent and in October 2016, 2.3 percent.

• The indices of the following commodity groups recorded higher annual increases during the month: Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (6.8%); Housing, Water, Electricity Gas and Other Fuels (4.0%); Communication (0.4%); Recreation and Culture (1.5%); and Restaurant and Miscellaneous Goods and Services (2.6%).


• As of July 2017, the unemployment rate inched up to 5.6 percent from 5.4 percent a year ago as more Filipinos joined the labour force.

• Estimates showed that 94.4 percent of the labour force population were employed in July, slightly down from 94.6 percent last year.

Budget (Revenues and Expenditure)

• From January to October, revenues rose by a tenth to P2.007 trillion from last year’s P1.821 trillion.

• Tax and non-tax revenues, meanwhile, grew 17 percent to P205.1 billion in October from a year ago’s P174.6 billion.

• The collections of the bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs, the country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies, increased 17 percent year-on-year to P142.5 billion and 29 percent to P42.9 billion, respectively.

• The national government widened its budget deficit that month by 830 percent to P21.8 billion from P2.3 billion a year ago. The national government continued to underspend during the first 10 months of the year, as expenditures of P2.241 trillion were 7-percent lower than the programmed disbursements of P2.403 trillion.

Foreign Direct Investment / Portfolio Investment

• Foreign direct investments (FDI) grew by 182.7 percent to US$674 million in June 2017 from US$238 million for the same month in 2016, reflecting investors’ continued bullish outlook on the Philippine economy.

• On a cumulative basis, FDI registered net inflows of US$3.6 billion in the first half of 2017. This was 14 percent lower than the US$4.2 billion net inflows posted in the same period last year on account of the 90.3 percent decline in net equity capital to US$141 million from US$1.4 billion a year ago.

• Equity capital infusions during the first semester were sourced mainly from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. These were invested mainly in real estate; financial and insurance; manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; and wholesale and retail trade activities.

Foreign Exchange Reserves

• The country’s foreign exchange buffer improved to a three-month high of $81.51 billion in August, $447.9 million higher than the revised $81.06 billion recorded in July.

• The latest gross international reserves level was the highest since hitting $82.18 billion in May.

• The build-up in reserves was due mainly to inflows arising from the revaluation adjustments on the Central Bank’s gold holdings resulting from the increase in the price of gold in the international market.

• Data showed the BSP’s gold holdings went up 5.3 percent to $8.43 billion in August from $8 billion in July.


• During the first seven months of the year, personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos increased by 5.9 percent at $17.9 billion, compared to the same period last year.

• The sustained increase in OF remittances was supported by stable demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.

• Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that in January to July 2017, the total number of deployed OF workers reached 1,222,003 which is about 58 percent of the total number of OF workers deployed for the year 2016 at 2,112,331.

• Cash remittances coming from the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong comprised accounted for 80 percent of total cash remittances in the first seven months of the year.


• Consistent growth is observed by the Philippines’ inbound traffic with a total of 2,8 million visitors for the first five months of 2017. This volume registered double-digit increase of 14.43% from the 2,5 million count for the same period last year.

• The biggest volume was recorded in the month of January while the highest growth was registered in April. Another milestone was achieved by the industry as month to month arrivals has surpassed the 500,000 visitor volume for the first five months of the year.

• Arrivals from the UK have reached 82,000 within the said period. The UK still ranks as the 8th top visitor market for the Philippines.

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Agrilink 2017 Manila

Agrilink 2017 Manila will take place on

5th to 7th October 2017

at the World Trade Centre, Manila

AGRILINK /FOODLINK/AQUALINK has established itself as the biggest internationally recognized and most participated agribusiness exhibition in the Philippines. Now in its 24th year, we would like to invite you once again to this biggest event in the country – that will take place October 5-7, 2017 at the World Trade Centre Metro Manila, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Philippines.agrilink

More than 500 indoor trades, retail booths, and outdoor booths will be available to showcase products, information, technologies, equipment, and services, plus live animals and plants.

24 seminar slots will be available for technical and product presentations. Special events such as cooking demonstration, product launching, raffle and fun games will be held daily.

There is also funding available through the Department for International Trade’s ‘Tradeshow Access Programme’, which can provide up to £2,500 to help companies attend. Please contact one of UKABC’s team at ASEAN Export Specialists for more information.


AgriLink is the agribusiness exhibition and seminars organized by the Foundation for Resource Linkage & Development, annually in October. From its first show in 1994, it is quickly bacame the Philippine’s largest annual international agribusiness event


FoodLink is the annual exhibition for food products; processing and packaging industries where leading international equipment suppliers showcase their knowledge and technology to the local food industry. Products on exhibition include packaging equipment, processing technologies, refrigeration equipment and various foodstuffs. There is great demand in the Philippines for imported food processing and packaging inputs and machinery. Since 2000, foodLink has provided a broad platform for international food and equipment suppliers to promote their products and services and to penetrate the lucrative Philippine food industry.


AquaLink is also annual exhibition for fisheries sector. The first Aqualink was the name given to the National Fisheries Convention and Exhibition in 2004. It focused on DA-BFAR’s four priority products – Milkfish, Tilapia, Shrimps, and Seaweeds.​ ​ Since then, Aqualink has continuously updated the industry on new products and technologies.

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Economic Performance and Indicators July 2017


Gross Domestic Product

  • The Philippine economy expanded by 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017, down from 6.9 percent the previous year.
  • This figure missed the government forecast of 7%. The services and industry sectors – the major contributors to the economy – both slowed in the first quarter. Agriculture, on the other hand, was able to grow 4.9%, turning around a 4.3% decline last bars
  • Despite the weak start in our GDP growth this year, the Philippines is still one of the best-performing emerging economies in the region. Our GDP growth is second only to China and surpasses that of Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Economic managers are confident the economy can catch up in the coming quarters to hit their target of 6.5-7.5% growth by the yearend.
  • Early this month, the World Bank has projected the country to continue its robust growth in 2017, saying the country’s economy will expand at 6.8 percent this year.

Trade / Exports / Imports

  • As of April this year, total exports increased by 12.1 percent to $4.805 billion in 2017 from $4.285 billion in 2016. Meanwhile, total imports slightly decreased by 0.1 percent from $6.865 billion in 2016 to $6.857 billion in 2017.
  • The country’s balance of trade in goods (BoT-G) registered a $2.052 billion deficit in 2017 lower than the $2.580 billion deficit in April 2016.


  • The headline inflation at the national level decelerated to 3.1 percent in May 2017. It was registered at 3.4 percent in the previous month and 1.6 percent in May 2016.
  • Slower annual increments were posted in the indices of the following commodity groups: Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages (3.8%), Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (6.1%), Clothing and Footwear (2.2%), Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Maintenance of the House (2.3%), Health (2.4%), Transport (2.7%), Communication (0.2%), and Recreation and Culture (1.4%),


  • The employment rate in April 2017 was estimated at 94.3 percent.  In April 2016, the employment rate was 93.9 percent. 
  • The unemployment rate as of April 2017 was estimated at 5.7 %. Last April 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.1 %. 

Budget (Revenues and Expenditure)

  • The National Government (NG) fiscal balance was at a surplus of P2.2 billion for the first month of 2017, a reversal of the P3.5 billion deficit posted in the previous year. This marks the first time NG achieved positive fiscal balance for the month since 2010. This reflects improved revenue collection effort and prudent spending with year-on-year growth of 10% and 7% for revenues and expenditures, respectively.
  • Total revenues for the month reached P200.3 billion, P18.1 billion higher compared to the level posted in January 2016. 92% of revenues were from tax collections.
  • The biggest contributor to the revenue expansion is Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) which posted collections of P147.4 billion for the month that grew 14% over the last year, attributed to higher tax payer compliance and other reforms undertaken by the Bureau such as expansion of its Large Taxpayers Service.
  • The NG disbursed a total of P198.1 billion in January, 7% or P12.4 billion higher than comparable figure last year. This is in spite of the 7% YoY decline in interest payments for the month. Only 21% of the total expenditures went to the payment of interest, against the previous year’s 25% showing that the growth in disbursements mainly came from releases to productive components of the budget. Total interest payments was at P42.4 billion for the month.
  • Netting out the interest payments from the expenditures, NG recorded a P44.6 billion primary surplus for January, exceeding the primary surplus for the same period last year by 6% or P2.5 billion.

Foreign Direct Investment / Portfolio Investment

  • For the first four months of 2017, the Philippines had a net inflow of $51 million in foreign portfolio investments. The BSP said this was a reversal from the $460 million net outflows recorded in March and $354 million outflows from a year ago. 
  • This development may be attributed to investor reaction to the World Bank’s view that the Philippines will continue to be a top performer in the region, coupled with positive sentiment in anticipation of the country’s strong gross domestic product number for the first quarter of 2017.
  • The BSP however also noted that the first four months of the year resulted in net outflows of $516 million on a year-to-date basis, vis-à-vis the $56 million net inflows for the same period in 2016.
  • It added that registered foreign portfolio investments fell 3.9 percent to $1.3 billion in April compared to $1.4 billion recorded in March.  

Currency / Reserves  

  • The Peso depreciated against the US dollar in Q1 2017. On a q-o-q basis, the peso depreciated by 1.79 percent to average ₱50.00/US$1 in Q1 2017 from the previous quarter’s average of ₱49.11/US$1.  
  • Likewise, on a y-o-y basis, the peso depreciated by 5.45 percent relative to the ₱47.28/US$1 average in Q1 2016. The weakening of the peso during the review quarter was due mainly to the US Fed rate hike in March 2017, expectation for further rate increases in 2017, and strong US dollar requirement by local corporates. 


  • Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) amounted to US$10 billion for January to April 2017, registering 4.7 percent year-on-year growth.  
  • Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more aggregated US$7.8 billion while those from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year totaled US$2.1 billion for the same period. However, personal remittances in April (at US$2.3 billion) were 5.2 percent lower than the level posted in the same month last year.
  • For the first four months of 2017, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks recorded 4.2 percent growth from the level posted in the same period a year ago, reaching US$9.0 billion. Specifically, remittances sent by land-based workers increased by 5.8 percent, compensating for the 1.4 percent decline in sea-based workers’ remittances. For April alone, total cash remittances fell by 5.9 percent year-on-year to US$2.1 billion. This was attributed to the 7.6 percent drop in cash remittances from land-based workers which offset the marginal increase (0.3 percent) in transfers from sea-based workers.
  • Cash remittances coming from the United States (US), Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Japan, UK, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Canada comprised about 80 percent of total cash remittances in the first four months of 2017.
  • Cash remittances from the UK to the Philippines reached US$ 458,114,000 from January to April 2017, down by -1.8% from US$ 466,742,000 for the same period in 2016. UK remains the top source of overseas Filipino remittances in Europe, representing 36.8 % of the total remittances from the region. (Note: UK is followed by Germany, Italy and Greece.). 


  • For the first two months of 2017, a total of 1,210,817 visitors arrived in the Philippines. This volume is 10.88% higher than the accumulated 1,091,983 arrivals in the same period last year.
  • Total earnings gained from tourism activities from this period amounted to Php 40,081.85 billon.
  • Arrivals from the UK have reached 30,973 within the said period. The UK still ranks as the 8th top visitor market for the Philippines as of February 2017.


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Ambassador Tambunting Awarded OBE

PBBC Co-Chairman awarded OBEOBE

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has recognised Ambassador Jesus Paraiso Tambunting as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. This honorary award entitles him to be known henceforth as Jesus P. Tambunting OBE.

Ambassador Tambunting served as the Philippine Ambassador to London from 1993 to 1998 with great distinction. He has been co-chairman of the Philippine British Business Council since 1993 and has been instrumental in the significant growth in commerce between the two countries. The President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom marked the 20th anniversary of the PBBC in 2014, acknowledging the contribution of Ambassador Tambunting.Tambunting OBE

British Ambassador, Asif Ahmad, conducted the formal ceremony in the presence of Ambassador Tambunting’s family and friends in Manila in May. He said:

Chuching Tambunting and I have known each other for over 13 years. He has been a great friend of the United Kingdom and the award of this OBE is a visible and permanent symbol of our deep appreciation. Ambassador Tambunting has been with us in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and Davao as we promoted business opportunities between the UK and the Philippines. We share a passion for enlarging links between our respective small and medium sized enterprises. This is a proud moment for the Tambunting family and his many friends will join me in extending my congratulations to him.

In my time as Ambassador in the Philippines, we have consolidated our position as the largest investor in the country from the EU. In 2015, growth in UK exports to the Philippines was the second highest in the world. From a tiny base, we have seen three large investments into the UK from the Philippines totalling more than 60 billion Pesos. These are tangible indicators of the role Ambassador Tambunting has played in enhancing our commercial ties.

Jesus Tambunting OBE said:

I am deeply honoured to be the recipient of this very prestigious award. It was a privilege to have served my country in promoting and strengthening the commercial relationship between the Philippines and a country I admire, the United Kingdom of Great Britain. I was a banker for most of my professional life and I was more than happy to use my knowledge in finance and investments to strengthen the ties between our two countries.

Ambassador Tambunting is Chairman of Capital Shares Investment Corporation, an investment and management company. He was Chairman of Planters Development Bank, the Philippines’s leading bank for promoting and growing SMEs, which he founded in 1971. He was previously appointed by President Benigno Aquino III to Head the Philippine Department of Trade’s Small Business Corporation. Other roles include being a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, Philippine Business for Education, PinoyMe Foundation, ABS-CBN Bayan Foundation and Makati Medical Center Foundation. He is a member of the Makati Business Club National Issues Committee. From 2004 until May 2008, he served as Chairman of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific, a regional organization of 127 development banks and institutions in 44 countries. He was elected to the Board of Directors of BPI-Philam Life Assurance Inc. in 2009.

Ambassador Tambunting was conferred Master Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 by the British firm, Ernst & Young and the SGV Foundation, and inducted into the World Entrepreneur Academy in Monaco in June 2010. He also received the International Alumnus Award from the University of Maryland in April 2011, the first Ramon V. del Rosario Sr. Award in Nation Building in 2010, the Distinguished Person of the Year 2009 from the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific, the Management Man of the Year 2003 from the Management Association of the Philippines, the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2005 from the Asian Bankers Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Foreign Affairs and “Knight Commander with Star” in 2008 and “Knight Grand Cross” in 2016 from the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

The Ambassador earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Maryland. Prior to that, he had obtained his secondary education from the Culver Military Academy in Indiana and his elementary education from the Ateneo de Manila University.

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