Philippine investments down 71% in January-April 2020 due to coronavirus

Ralf Rivas
The Board of Investments says investments reached P84.1 billion in the first 4 months of 2020, much lower than the P286.7 billion in the same period last year

PANDEMIC. A coronavirus testing facility in San Juan Elementary School. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines– The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) reported a 71% slowdown in cumulative investments from January to April, as the coronavirus pandemic froze the global economy.

The BOI said investments reached P84.1 billion in the first 4 months of 2020, much lower than the P286.7 billion in the same period last year.

“The downturn is expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic where economic activities and investments are disrupted due to lockdowns around the world,” said Trade Secretary and BOI chairman Ramon Lopez.

Approved investments from domestic sources reached P70.7 billion, down by 68% from P219.7 billion in the same period last year.  

Approved projects by foreign investors reached P13.4 billion, decelerating by 80% from P66.9 billion a year ago.

The transportation and storage sector figures reached P60.2 billion, accounting for 71% of the total investment figures. The rest went to real estate (P8.8 billion), manufacturing (P5.3 billion), power (P4.2 billion), and accommodation (P3.8 billion). 

A total of 70 projects got the nod and once fully operational, these will translate to 11,055 jobs.

France was the top investor during the period with P1.5 billion in capital, followed by Japan with P790 million, Malaysia (P601 million), India (P325 million), and the United Kingdom (P156 million).

Among the April approvals are Anflo Banana Corporation’s P616 million project covering the production of cavendish bananas in Davao Oriental; and Maclin Electronic’s P132 million project involving the production of electronic appliances such as electric fans, washing machines, spin dyers, and air coolers in Rizal.

“While the actual approved figures are down, this is partly because there are investment projects which we have chosen to carefully re-confirm with proponents their commitment to pursue even in this environment. So far, the investors remain solidly optimistic about the medium-to-long-term prospects of the country,” BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said.

Lopez said the government expects a V-shaped or quick bounce back, after the economy contracted by 0.2% in the 1st quarter of 2020. (READ: PH economy to contract by up to 3.4%, higher debt seen in 2020)

“The economy demonstrated its resilience, contracting by just 0.2% in the first quarter of this year – a better performance even if compared with developed countries whose contractions have been from anywhere between 4 to 7%,” said Lopez. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.