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PHL outbound investment decline largest in Asia-Pacific

PHILIPPINE OUTBOUND investment in greenfield projects declined at a pace outstripping those of other Asia-Pacific economies in the first nine months, the United Nations said in a report.

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Trends 2021/2022 report released Wednesday said outbound greenfield investment in the region has been falling since 2018.

In the report, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) said outbound greenfield investment from Asia and the Pacific peaked at $282 billion in 2018, then declined by 58% to their 2020 level.

Investment declined further by 15% year on year in the first nine months of 2021.

“The largest declines in outbound investments were registered in the Philippines (95%), Malaysia (88%), and New Zealand (72%).”

Globally, greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) started to improve in the first nine months of this year, but lockdowns declared to curb COVID-19 surges in the Asia-Pacific made investments vulnerable.

“Greenfield investments, which are an important indicator for future FDI trends, have globally and regionally been on a steep decline since 2018, and remain the most vulnerable type of FDI amid continued outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic,” UNESCAP said.

“Developing countries in the region have been disproportionately affected because sectors that have been severely affected by the pandemic, including the primary and manufacturing sectors, account for a larger share of their FDI than developed economies.”

However, the Philippines posted strong growth in attracting greenfield investment this year, the report said.

“The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and the Russian Federation all saw strong growth in greenfield investments in 2021.”

But these gains were offset by significant declines in other economies, including in Australia, Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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