The Philippines’ inflation rate has risen to 4% year on year in February, a three-year high, from an average of 2.9% in 2017 (using the new 2012 Consumer Price Index base year). While bond yields have risen in 2017, policy rates have yet to increase.
This was among the topics discussed in the recent Citigold 2018 Annual Market Outlook Briefing, “Navigating A Maturing Bull Market” attended by more than 600 Citi customers in the cities of Taguig, Mandaluyong and Cebu.
Also on the agenda was the United States economy. The briefing heard that the United States is showing early signs of inflation that may have implications for both Asia and Europe. However, the good news from the speakers was that they expect no serious financial consequences and remained bullish on Philippine and select global financial markets as these continue to present potential investment opportunities.
Ramon Melchor Tejero, Investment Product Head of Citicorp Financial Services and Insurance Brokerage Philippines Inc., said, “We believe that the recent decline in markets was caused by the sudden change in sentiment among investors related to inflation and rising interest rates.”
Aftab Ahmed, Citi Philippines Chief Executive Officer said, “This is Citi’s 116th year of serving the Philippines and we owe our continued leadership in the country’s banking sector, to the loyal support of our valued clients. Our wealth managers are committed to guiding our clients make sound investment decisions.”
“We are also enhancing our digital capabilities to make our services more accessible to everyone who banks with us. Our priority remains to be the best through the eyes of our clients. Our goal remains one of delivering a strong value proposition.”
Manoj Varma, Citibank Consumer Business Manager, shared Ahmed’s optimism “because of the opportunities and growth I see in the Philippines.” Varma said, “The Philippines remains as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The demographics are supportive of growth. The population is young, productive, and growing. The financial industry still sees a lot of opportunities.”
The Philippine economy remains robust with a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.7% in 2017. GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 6.9% this year because of the government’s infrastructure spending and higher private sector consumption both supported by the recent tax reform law. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) revenues and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) remittances are both expected to continue to grow steadily especially with the recent strengthening of the U.S. Dollar.
With the latest market forecasts, Tejero suggested that, overall, the current environment calls for staying diversified, riding the structural trends like Asian growth and the technology sector, positioning for higher interest rates, and coping with an eventual weaker U.S. Dollar.
Varma said Citigold is constantly innovating to serve clients better. “Citigold has and will continue to invest in digital and mobile capabilities that will allow our clients to manage all their investments in one place,” he said. “Citi has also partnered with the Wharton Business School to help train our people and make them even better in relationship management. The recent market leading product launches will continue and this is something that we are passionately pursuing for our clients.”
You can start your Citigold relationship today and get up to two roundtrip tickets to Japan plus up to PHP77,000 in cash credits. Visit www.citibank.com.ph for more details.