Companies uncertain over Philippines
Once the packages arrive in Dubai they are stored in a huge fridge warehouse before the next flight Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-drug war and his outbursts in defence of the campaign have unnerved foreign investors in one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.
Analysts and businessmen point to uncertainties about Duterte’s policies and flip-flopping pronouncements as largely to blame for foreign selling in the stock market and the peso’s plunge to a seven-year low, reversing the initial optimism after his June 30 inauguration.
Experts say unpredictability is slowing longer-term foreign investment in the Philippines. The killing of suspected drug dealers and users – more than 3,000 since July 1 – have contributed to sagging confidence.
“We can deal with risks. We can put measures in place to provide for risks,” said Guenter Taus, head of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines.
“But uncertainty is a factor that we do not like in business, and that is exactly what we’re experiencing right now because we don’t know where we are heading.” Taus said several companies that had intended to establish operations to the Philippines now prefer to wait and see what happens under Duterte. He declined to say which companies had changed their plans. He said investors may choose to look at other Southeast Asian countries to gain access to the region’s common market of more than 600 million people. The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines said that while the country’s economic fundamentals are strong, there is growing concern about Duterte’s policies. The chamber said that the large number of deaths in the anti-drug campaign is harming the Philippines’ image, and that investors are asking if the drug war “reduces the rule of law”. “Traditionally excellent bilateral relations between the US and the Philippines have been strained by language from Philippine leaders,” the chamber said.
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