Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Magandang araw! Good day!
Another great news from Asia’s emerging market Philippines has been ringing across economic sectors of late. This pertains to the end of April report of a net BOP (balance of payments) surplus of over $1 Billion.
The situation of a BOP surplus has been consistent since the begging of 2011 yet, thus rendering total BOP surplus at over $4 Billions. Add this BOP surplus to the strong peso, high foreign exchange reserves of $67.8 Billions, positive growth of over 5% for the 1st quarter, manageable debt burden (good fiscal health), and one can see a relatively good performing economy as far as macro-indicators are concerned.
The BOP surplus has been largely accounted for by the continuous inflows of foreign remittances by overseas Filipinos and the portfolio capital inflows. This hasn’t translated yet into transforming PH credit standing to A+ high credit grade, but so far so good. The credit standing has already been elevated to a notch in fact.
BOP measures the balance between inflows and outflows of capital, currency, and trade receipts. In the past, BOP deficits have been used by creditor institutions notably the IMF to bamboozle the country into submitting to harsh conditionalities. Now that BOP and other indices have been doing appreciably, the reason for creditors and investors to be stingy or cruel on the country has been reduced.
Since the country has been registering BOP surpluses for some time now, there is no more reason to be lackadaisical about reducing poverty and increasing the numbers of middle income earners. The graduation of around 32% poorer families in the CDE classes to middle income status (U.S. $5,000-$30,000 per annum) will make the country into a true economic powerhouse as an emerging market.
Today, merely 19% of our families fall within the middle income yardstick, and it had stagnated there for years now. Adding 32% to 19% yields 51% of total families at middle income, a status that Brazil attained during the noble Lula’s presidency yet. How much can the private sector can do what it can towards that end, using the gains of BOP surpluses and others, is the big challenge facing the market stakeholders.
[Philippines, 21 May 2011]
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