Traders see even better prospects in ’13

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WITH the midterm elections scheduled in May and as US president Barrack Obama starts his second term in January, Filipino businessmen are now bullish that the local economy will grow even stronger in 2013.

Likewise, the Philippines will remain in a “sweet spot” through next year, helped on by low inflation and robust economic growth, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s biggest umbrella organization with more than 30,000 member firms, expects the country to continue to perform well next year.

“The (Philippine) economy in 2012 has shown resiliency and strength amidst the economic crisis in Europe and territorial disputes in the region. This is mainly due to our government’s effective fiscal management policies, which created a stronger than expected investors’ interest in the Philippines,” PCCI president Miguel Varela said in a statement.

According to Varela, now is the perfect time to instigate more reforms and start developing the country’s own industries.

Varela noted how local and foreign investors in the country have been keeping a watchful eye on President Obama’s efforts to revive the US economy, which is still recovering from its worst economic crisis since the “Great Depression.”

The US remains a major destination for Philippine exports and the top source of foreign direct investments (FDI).

Overall, Varela said, PCCI sees bright spots in 2013 given the continuing interest of fund managers and investors in the Philippines.

Also, the central bank remains confident that consumer prices in the country will remain benign, as it cites indicators pointing to a rise in agricultural output which, in turn, can help increase supply and thus temper prices of food products, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said.

According to the BSP’s estimates, inflation may average next year at 3.1 percent, which is within the government’s target range of 3 to 5 percent.

In addition, Tetangco said, the government’s economic growth target of 6 to 7 percent for 2013 is well within reach.

“An inflation rate of 3.1 percent and economic growth rate of between 6 and 7 percent basically match what were seen in 2012. There will likely be a continuation of robust growth and relatively stable prices,” Tetangco told reporters.

Tetangco also said the market forecast that the peso would remain firm, if not further strengthen, against the US dollar in 2013 would help temper the rise in consumer prices.

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