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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Economy......How is it?

Philippines can grow like India, says ABN Amro


By Doris Dumlao
Inquirer
Last updated 07:06am (Mla time) 08/14/2007


MANILA, Philippines -- Can the Philippines replicate India’s phenomenal growth? It’s possible, says Dutch banking giant ABN Amro.

Irene Cheung, head for Asia local markets of ABN Amro, said in a recent research presentation that the Philippines was benefiting from a current account surplus and a positive balance of payments surplus due mainly to strong remittances from overseas Filipinos.

The Philippines hit a record surplus of $5 billion in the balance of payments as of July, as more foreign exchange came in than went out in the first seven months.

She said the favorable BoP position was reminiscent of India’s surplus primarily due to software service exports.

The current account, a major component of the BOP, includes the inflow from the export of goods and services.

Cheung also noted the Philippines’ improving capital account, fueled by foreign direct investments and portfolio inflow -- which were seen as analogous to India’s capital inflow.

Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo of the central bank, who had meetings with ABN Amro, said the Dutch bank had pledged to bring in more foreign investments.

“India is a big, promising, emerging market. They see the Philippines in the same light,” Guinigundo said.

Even on the business process outsourcing market, Guinigundo said the country was not far behind India.

“In terms of volume, they are bigger, but on a person-to-person basis, we’re comparable,” he said.

But ABN Amro said the strong BoP inflows to the region were a big challenge to Asian central banks.

The bank noted that foreign exchange intervention was not being “fully sterilized” in some countries, including China, India, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Sterilization refers to a central bank’s mopping up of excess funds pumped into the economy.



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