The Philippines emerged No. 1 in the latest Investor Sentiment Index for Asia recently conducted by Manulife.
The Manulife survey noted that the Philippines has ranked at the forefront of Southeast Asia’s developing markets, despite volatile market conditions as of the end of last year.
The upbeat sentiment of Philippine investors mirrors the consumer’s rising confidence in the economy, which has been able to withstand natural disasters and global market volatility.
“The investors’ high sentiment is also an indicator of the growing demand for investment vehicles enabling them to take advantage of market conditions and strong economic fundamentals,” Manulife Philippines President and CEO Ryan Charland said.
Philippine investors were seen as more optimistic towards fixed-income assets over equities.
“Local bond rates are biased to move upward in the near term because of rising supply-side price pressures … we expect local bonds to generate positive returns in the long-term given the country’s favorable growth prospects, which are supportive of continued debt and fiscal consolidation, Manulife Philippines chief investment officer Aira Gaspar said.
The results of the index, however, showed that most Filipinos were still content to keep the bulk of their assets in idle cash, exposing them to danger of losses due to higher inflation and interest rates, and currency depreciation.
“They prefer to hold on to cash because they want safety and liquidity,“ Gaspar explained.
The company noted that most Philippine investors were willing to give up solvency, but only if returns are guaranteed. More than half said they would consider investing more in products that offered guaranteed income. The rest said they would move their cash if the investment offered steady returns.