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Security Bank strengthens its BetterBanking commitment to stakeholders, holds 2022 Economic Forum

Key experts in global and local economics and political analysis shared their outlook for 2022 in the Security Bank Economic Forum, which was moderated by the Bank’s chief economist, Robert Dan Roces.

As part of its commitment to provide stakeholders with avenues for discourse to enable decision-making, Security Bank held its 2022 Economic Forum on April 28, 2022. Key economists and political analysis experts discussed the effects of the current political landscape and ongoing conflicts on the country’s economy.

Titled “Economic trends, the political environment, and the impact on the business community,” the event was headlined by Akihiko Sato, Chief Economist & Managing Director and Head of Economic Research office at MUFG Bank Ltd, Dr. Cielito Habito, Chair, Brain Trust Inc. and a professor at Ateneo de Manila University, and Prof. Victor Andres Manhit, Founder and Managing Director of the Stratbase Group.

A look at global trends

Akihiko Sato discussed the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war and COVID-19lockdowns in China on the global economy, the ASEAN region, and the Philippines.

“Inflation rates across many countries will continue to be elevated, thus prompting a cycle of monetary tightening by central banks. Constraints related to supply chains will also worsen in light of sanctions related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the lockdowns China instituted to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

He also presented data on how the war between the two neighboring countries has affected not only the economy, but also the world’s global supply chain, which has heavily contributed to the increase of oil prices and other commodities.

“One factor that contributes highly to this disruption is China’s zero COVID policy, the lockdowns have contributed greatly to port congestion and production delays, if this continues, we will also see continued disruption on the global supply chain,” said Sato.

“Many ports in the east coast of China rank in [the] top 10 globally, so the disruption of the Chinese economy directly affects the global economy through logistics disruptions. And as for the Ukraine conflict, there are many commodities where Russia has [a] big presence and the war and economic sanctions will no doubt affect global supply chains [negatively].”

Additionally, Mr. Sato noted that in the coming years, the changes to social structures created by the pandemic and the new geopolitical realities in Asia and Europe could become dominant trends.

From global to local

Meanwhile, Dr. Cielito Habito shared his outlook on the Philippine economy amidst the fallouts from the COVID-19 aftermath and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“We are seeing a shift in where workers are looking for jobs as there has been an increase in workers in the farming, fishing, and trading sectors and an exodus from industry and Feed the Future sectors,” said Dr. Habito

He adds,“There has also been an increase in the size of the informal sector—which could lead to lower tax revenues for the government—and more people are opting to work at part-time jobs and fewer are working in full-time jobs.”

Despite this, Habito noted two positive streams that could help bring the economy back on its feet: agricultural and digital/technology sectors. “Agricultural production has been prevalent across all regions, and the sector has been the biggest provider of jobs for Filipinos. Meanwhile, the digital economy has introduced disruption in the form of improvements in operational processes. We have also seen new products in the market, such as those offered by financial technological companies, which benefit consumers,” said Habito.

A view into the political landscape

With the 2022 elections less than two weeks away, Prof. Victor Andres C. Manhit discussed the dynamics of the 2022 national election campaigns, the profile of the Filipino voter, considerations in selecting a presidential candidate, and how social media has changed the way campaigns work

He highlighted how the economy in the next six months will be determined based on who wins and who will sit on the cabinet, citing that once the elected president gives their first State of the Nation address, the economy will move based on the statements made.

“Controlling inflation rate, ensuring higher pay for workers, creating jobs, and reducing poverty are the biggest issues that voters want to be addressed. For example, surveys have shown that 58% of respondents want the government to bring the rise of prices in check, while 4 out of 10 respondents see a higher take-home pay as an urgent priority,” Manhit added.

With more than 65.7 million eligible Filipino voters in the 2022 elections, Manhit sees an opportunity for a positive turnout, with more than 44% of registered voters being first-time voters and have taken their campaigning to social media.

“Social media is shaping the discourse; mainstream media is catching up. If the presidency is shaped by what is happening on social media, then imagine what governance would be and that for me is the great challenge,” Manhit added.

Generating discourse to foster BetterBanking

Each year, Security Bank organizes a “by-invitation only” economic forum to support its vision to become the most customer-centric bank in the Philippines—investing in its customers and in what matters most to them. Through this event, the Bank provides valuable information to arm business leaders and guide them in making sound business and financial decisions.

When the economic forum celebrated its tenth year in 2018, the Bank held its first regional economic roadshow where stakeholders from key business hubs in the country were able to hear from industry leaders first-hand. In the midst of the pandemic in 2020, the yearly event pivoted from a physical forum to an online event.

“As we keep a watchful eye on developments on the global [and local] stage, we remain very focused on helping our clients meet their goals for 2022. We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners as we all contribute to economic recovery,” said Sanjiv Vohra, Security Bank President and CEO.

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