BUSINESSES in the Philippines may return to pre-pandemic level by year-end as many sectors showed improvements this year, the head of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said.

“We are still very hopeful that all of the sectors will overcome the 2019 level, we are seeing that already with many companies,” MAP President Rogelio L. Singson told reporters on Monday during the group’s annual general membership meeting.

Mr. Singson said that the turnaround for the companies’ recovery started in 2021, “obviously the numbers are showing that indeed the recovery is on the way.”

“By end of 2022, we expect it to return to 2019 levels, and 2023 we expect it to be better than 2022, this is our outlook,” Mr. Singson said.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message that economic activity is seen to return to the pre-pandemic level.

“This is consistent with the fact that GDP (gross domestic product) in pesos at constant 2018 prices and seasonally adjusted already back to pre-pandemic levels,” Mr. Ricafort said.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the economy for the third quarter grew by 7.6%, higher than the revised 7.5% GDP growth in the second quarter and 7% last year.

In August, the Philippines started the gradual resumption of face-to-face classes, which helped the reopening of more sectors.

“Thus, the affected industries especially those that were hit hard by the pandemic are in the right recovery path, including those that are moving towards pre-pandemic levels,” Mr. Ricafort said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Singson said that real estate is among the hardest-hit sectors and is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

“Of course, the real estate, with all the POGOs (Philippine offshore gaming operators) growth and so on, but what I am saying now is the best time to move with the POGOs before they grow again,” he said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose