Influential economist to tout PH gains at investment summit


Posted at Dec 10 2012 12:42 PM | Updated as of Dec 10 2012 08:42 PM

 World-renowned economist Nouriel Roubini

MANILA, Philippines - World-renowned economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini will tout the gains of the Philippine economy at the Philippine Investment Summit in January.

Roubini, co-founder and chairman of Roubini Global Economics and economics professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, will give the keynote address at the Philippine Investment Summit in Makati City on January 30.

Roberto Juanchito Dispo, president of First Metro Investment Corp., said the summit will be attended by foreign bankers, investors, fund managers and businessmen.

"(Roubini) believes in the growth story of the Philippines and he will be telling the audience, global fund managers and foreign investors that the Philippines may already be ripe for a credit rating upgrade, anchored on robust capital markets, record-setting equity markets, very strong economic fundamentals and robust local markets," he said on [email protected] on Monday.

One of the world's most influential economists, Roubini had promoted the Indonesian economy, saying as early as September 2011 that the country is ripe for investment grade status. Indonesia was upgraded to investment grade early this year.

Dispo said Roubini's statements about the Philippine economy at the summit may help boost its prospects for investment grade status.

Organized by FMIC, the investment summit's theme is "The Philippine Economic Upgrade: A Bright Spot in Asia." The summit is being held amid the backdrop of the Philippine economy's strong performance.

"It really is the economic fundamentals that are lifting the economy at large -- the fairly strong exchange rate, low interest rate, adequate liquidity in the market... The infrastructure program is beginning to kick in, that will translate to a lot of projects being completed in the country. It's a main attraction for foreign investments to come in," Dispo said.

The FMIC president said the Philippine economic growth is being fueled by remittances and the business process outsourcing industry.

He allayed fears of the strong peso's negative effect on OFW remittances and profits of BPO companies.

"The strong peso means lesser pesos for OFW remittances and for BPO call centers... But BPO call centers are now moving out of the metropolis and to the provinces, where there are lower electricity, lower labor costs, which offsets the stronger peso," he said.

"OFWs may complain they can buy less, but you'd be surprised the reason why inflation rate for October dipped to 2.6% is that we have lower cost of food, fuel and transport. Since our country imports much of our food and oil, strong peso means these foreign goods are becoming cheaper and this translates to lower consumption costs for consumers. It somewhat offsets. We've seen this in the inflation numbers. The one that drove inflation lower is the lower cost of food, oil, transport and utilities," Dispo said.