The global financial crisis continues to agitate the major economies of the world. It began with the US which has been experiencing a recession since December 2007. The ripple effect of this financial catastrophe has affected the economic growth of emerging economies such as the Philippines. From an outstanding GDP growth of 7.3 percent in 2007, the economy is now conceding to a lower than expected expansion within the vicinity of 4.5 percent according to economic experts.
There seems to be no relief on the horizon as a widespread decrease in economic activity is expected to set in 2009 for the first time in decades as funds to support business activities across all sectors of the global economy dry up. This is not new to the Asian region, where the Philippines is situated. It’s “déjà vu’ for the Philippines with recollections of the 1997 Asian financial crisis remaining all too vivid for affected sectors of the economy such as banking, real estate and construction.
The question to ask now is how will the global financial investment industry move on from this? “It’s back to the basics for 2009 as the remaining liquid investors flock to traditional investment instruments such as direct investments and ownership of real estate. The way to go is revisiting investment opportunities from bricks and mortar businesses or companies which have a physical presence that offers face-to-face customer experiences,” says Rick Santos, chairman of CB Richard Ellis Philippines.
Moreover, highly populated countries like the Philippines which, among other sources, relies on export revenues, can fall back on its human resources to survive the global financial crisis. The law of supply and demand tells us that if the Philippines’ export sector is on the downturn because of the recession in the export market, it can shift to its huge internal market to compensate a shortfall in exports (i.e. manufacturing for the domestic consumption).
Previously, diversity of portfolio investments lured most equity funds to invest in high-risk and high-yielding liquid assets and financial instruments such as mortgage backed securities, credit derivatives and hedge funds. Now, real estate remains a safe bet for investment.–Philippine Star