The Philippines’ growing momentum in economic growth is due to a large degree to the Aquino administration, whose policies have given local and foreign businessmen fresh impetus to invest in the country, according to the head of one of the world’s biggest and most influential financial news organization.
Bloomberg L.P. chair Peter Grauer said the Philippines was in an “enviable position” vis-a-vis other countries around the world that lacked leadership at a time of great economic uncertainty.
“But I think leadership is a key differentiator and the [Philippines] today has quite a strong leadership,” he said in an interview with the Inquirer. “This will allow [the country] to move forward in a very thoughtful and solid pace of growth.”
The New York-based chief of Bloomberg —whose computer terminals are described as the gold standard of financial market news and analytics—visited the country on Monday and Tuesday to meet with government officials and business leaders amid the Philippines’ rising prominence in the international investment scene.
“I talk a fair amount about the leadership vacuum that exists in a lot of countries around the world,” Grauer said, when asked about what makes the Philippines attractive to the foreign business community. “And I think you are in a very enviable position to have a President who is focused on driving the country forward, creating transparency in the markets and building the economy with a solid and sustainable foundation.”
Bloomberg is a 15,000-member organization (which includes 2,300 news personnel in various media platforms) and has 172 bureaus in 72 countries. Its Bloomberg terminals —leased for approximately $1,700 a month per unit—is used by 310,000 subscribers in 174 countries.
Grauer noted that a significant part of Bloomberg’s revenue growth in recent years has been occurring in Asia as both the United States and Europe struggle with their economic difficulties. And within Asia, he said the Philippines was particularly promising.
“The economies are bumping along at zero or very little growth [in other advanced economies],” he said. “It’s much more fun here. It manifests itself. People walk with a little more spring in their step. It’s very intangible, but you see it and you feel it.”
In general, the growth of Bloomberg’s business in the Asean region—at an average 14 percent in 2012 for Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore—has outstripped the financial service organization’s global average growth rate of 0.5 percent. Grauer said he believed that the growth rate reflected the actual and potential expansion of the local economy as well.
“It’s matter of sustaining [the growth] and that’s a function of the quality of the leadership that you have,” the Bloomberg chief said when asked about challenges facing the Philippines going forward. “You seem to be in a very good position today, with a President who is leading the country in the right direction. And that’s not always the case in other countries.”
Apart from growing Bloomberg’s footprint in the Philippines, Grauer said his organization was also interested in helping the country’s capital markets mature and grow further.
In particular, he said Bloomberg was working toward providing more “localized” services that would help clients value government and corporate bonds more accurately on the Bloomberg system; developing a system to facilitate the trading of interest rate swaps, as well as partnering with the local bourse to develop exchange-traded funds, futures and options.
“A lot of these things take time to develop, but we think that the Philippines will be a very attractive market for us, going forward,” Grauer said. “We want to be partners with both the local market participants and regulators and other players like the finance ministry and the central bank.”