MANILA, Philippines - Foreign direct investments hit $1.03 billion in January, the highest in two years according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Net foreign direct investments in January rose 5.3% from a year earlier to $1.03 billion, the highest since January 2012 when it recorded a net inflow of $1.06 billion.
The rise in net FDI was mainly due to a surge in investments in debt instruments, with additional boost from equity capital, the central bank said in a statement.
Despite robust economic growth that is among the fastest in Asia, the Philippines has only been able to attract paltry levels of FDI compared with its Southeast Asian peers due to poor infrastructure, high power costs and restrictions on foreign ownership in major industries and land acquisition by foreigners.
The Philippines expects its economy to grow 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year after expanding 7.2 percent last year, the fastest in the region after China.
Placements by foreign investors in debt instruments issued by their Philippine affiliates rose 7.3 percent in January from a year earlier to $687 million.
Equity capital yielded a net inflow $278 million in January, up 10.5 percent from a year ago and coming mostly from Hong Kong, the United States, Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
Equity capital inflows went into financial and insurance, wholesale and retail trade, real estate, manufacturing, and information and communication sectors.
The central bank expects net foreign direct investments of $2.6 billion this year.
Net FDI, portfolio inflows, plus remittances from Filipinos working overseas help keep the country's balance of payments (BOP) in surplus.
The Philippines posted a BOP surplus of $345 million in February, reversing a record deficit of nearly $4.5 billion in January when it saw its biggest-ever net portfolio outflows due to an emerging market rout.