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Citi sees PH performing better than peers

/ 12:15 AM March 22, 2016

THE WORLD is an “uneven” place but against the backdrop of a challenging global environment, the Philippines is among those countries likely to perform better than most regional peers, Citigroup chief executive Michael Corbat said.

Corbat, who is in the Philippines for his first official visit as CEO, is scheduled to meet top clients and engage employees as well as meet with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

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In the Philippines, Corbat said Citi’s strategy would be to make sure that his bank would continue to support clients and “help local companies grow globally and support the champions of tomorrow.”

Last year, Citi advised local food manufacturer Monde Nissin on its $830-million purchase of UK-based meat substitute product company Quorn Foods. “Since 2015, we have also helped raise over $5 billion for the country and its companies from global capital markets, including a couple of international bond offerings for the Republic of the Philippines,” Corbat said in an e-mail interview with the Inquirer.

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He pointed out that consumer banking and wealth management businesses were also market leaders in the Philippines. He added that Citi had the leading credit card business based on value of spending.

“Looking around the globe, the world is and will remain an uneven place, Corbat said. Along with such an uneven global growth, the banker sees sustained low commodity prices and a slow trajectory for US rate increases, similar in many respects to 2015.

The Citi chief said that in Asia, the likes of South Korea, China and the Philippines were each different in terms of growth and outlook. Whether it’s Asia, Latin America, Africa, he said one would need a local perspective because all those economies were in various stages of growth, recovery and change.

“Clearly, in some emerging markets, the precipitous drop in commodities and in particular oil, indicates real challenges where you have emerging economies built and structured to have 4 to 6 percent growth rates and a high dependence on the export of commodities, especially oil, to fund government programs,” Corbat said. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

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