THE PHILIPPINES’ growth story should cushion local equities amid persisting uncertainty over the economic policy direction in the United States, as the new leadership there ushers in a protectionist regime that may negatively impact emerging markets.
“The release of the GDP (gross domestic product) data this week will provide a glimpse of the strong fundamentals of the Philippine economy despite the headwinds from these global uncertainties,” Aniceto K. Pangan, trader at Diversified Securities, Inc., said in a mobile phone message.
The Philippine Statistics Authority will release fourth-quarter and annual GDP growth figures on Thursday. After advancing 7% in the preceding quarters, the economy should have expanded 6.9% in the three months to December to hit the upper end of the government’s 6-7% target.
The data should highlight the strong fundamentals of the Philippine economy and subsequently keep investors from pulling out the equities market, Mr. Pangan said.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index declined 5.86 points or 0.08% to 7,232.66 last week, as investors turned cautious ahead of US President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration and amid renewed concerns over Britain’s looming divorce with the European Union.
Investors were hoping for clarity on the “America First” agenda of Mr. Trump, who has threatened US companies against outsourcing jobs and tightening immigration controls, among others.
In his inauguration speech last Friday, Mr. Trump reiterated a protectionist strategy in advancing the US economy forward, saying: “We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”
Aside from protectionist policies, the market should watch out for aggressive moves to ramp up fiscal initiatives, which would bolster expectations of the Federal Reserve hiking rates further, 2TradeAsia.com noted in a report.
“With no major local headlines in place yet, the mart might begin to factor in the country’s GDP report on Thursday to manage expectations for this year’s performance, and realign their portfolios,” it said.
2TradeAsia.com also cited the submission of the Philippine Development Plan, which should shed more light on the growth strategy of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s administration in the coming years. “Consequently, Trump and Duterte’s policies seem to mirror similar sentiment when it comes to economic priorities, which could definitely level their playing field to adopt fair and market-based trading conditions,” it added.
2TradeAsia.com pegged the local stock barometer’s immediate support at the 7,150 mark and resistance at the 7,300 level, noting: “For now, it’s better to wait on cues until the dust clears out.”