By Cai Ordinario, March 1 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to GMA Network

Investment pledges approved by the government surged 69.3 percent in 2018 on the back of Chinese investments inflow, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed on Thursday.

The PSA said total foreign investments in 2018 increased to P179 billion from P105.7 billion in 2017. In the last quarter of 2018, foreign investments quadrupled, or a growth of 321.2 percent, to P91.2 billion from P21.6 billion in the previous year.

The foreign investments were approved by the country’s seven  investment-promotion agencies (IPAs), namely, the Board of Investments (BOI), Clark Development Corp., Philippine Economic Zone Authority and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, as well as the Authority, of the Freeport Area of Bataan, BOI-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.

Data showed that investment pledges from China in the whole of 2018 grew over 2,000 percent to P50.69 billion,  from P2.33 billion. In the fourth quarter, Chinese investment pledges grew by over 17,000 percent to P47.99 billion in 2018, from P266.8 million in 2017.

China accounted for as much as 52.6 percent of total foreign investment pledges approved in the October to December 2018 period, and 28.3 percent of total foreign pledges in the whole of 2018.

For the full year, other countries that accounted for the largest shares in total investment pledges were Singapore, which cornered 11.8 percent and Japan with 11 percent. Pledges from Singapore reached P21.18 billion, while those from Japan reached P19.73 billion.

In the fourth quarter, pledges from these two countries also accounted for the highest shares apart from China. Approved pledges from Singapore amounted to P15.28 billion, or 16.7 percent, while those from Japan reached P4.7 billion, or 5.2 percent of the total in 2018.

Meanwhile, the PSA said Electricity, Gas, Steam, and Air Conditioning Supply came in second with investment pledges valued at P13.3 billion, or a 14.6-percent share. Administrative and Support Service Activities followed with investment pledges of P6.9 billion, or a 7.6-percent share.

By region, the majority of the approved foreign investments in the fourth quarter of 2018 would be intended to finance projects in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) amounting to P47.5 billion or 52.1 percent. Region 4A (Calabarzon) would receive the second highest amount at P20.3 billion, representing 22.3 percent. This was followed by the National Capital Region at P13.1 billion, or 14.3 percent.

Approved investments of foreign and Filipino nationals reached P605.1 billion in the last quarter of 2018, up by 114.2 percent compared with P282.5 billion in the same period in the previous year. Filipino nationals continued to dominate the investments approved during the quarter, sharing 84.9 percent, or P513.9 billion worth of pledges.

Total projects of foreign and Filipino investors approved by the seven IPAs for the fourth quarter of 2018 are expected to generate 72,630 jobs. Out of the total anticipated jobs for the period, 66.9 percent would come from projects with foreign interest.