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Approved foreign investments climb 26% in 2022

Philippine flags are displayed along the streets, June 3, 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ EDD GUMBAN

APPROVED foreign investment pledges rose by 25.6% last year, driven by robust performance in the fourth quarter, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed on Wednesday.

Total approved foreign investments stood at P241.89 billion last year, higher than the P192.55 billion in 2021 and more than double the P112.12 billion recorded in 2020.

Foreign investments jumped BY 30.1% year on year to P173.61 billion in the October-to-December period. This pace was slower than the 265.8% seen in the final three months of 2021 but a turnaround from the 22.4% decline in the third quarter last year.

Last quarter’s foreign investment haul was the largest amount in 13 straight quarters or since the P182.44 billion registered in the third quarter of 2019.

Singapore was the top source of approved foreign investment pledges last year with P130.63 billion, 62.9% more than 2021. Investment commitments from Singapore accounted for 54% of the total.

The statistics agency compiles the investment pledges from the government’s seven investment promotion agencies — the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), Board of Investments (BoI), BoI-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BoI-BARMM), Clark Development Corp. (CDC), Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

The PSA does not entirely equate to the actual foreign direct investments tracked by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for balance of payments purposes.

The BoI contributed the biggest bulk of the foreign investment pledges with P138.18 billion, or 57.1% of last year’s total. However, this was 9% less than the P151.80 billion haul in 2021.

PEZA came in second with P64.51 billion, accounting for 26.7% of the total, followed by SBMA with P37.06 billion, CDC with P1.67 billion, BoI-BARMM with P321.7 million, and AFAB with P150 million.

In the fourth quarter, the information and communication industry received approved foreign investment pledges worth P114.29 billion, accounting for 65.8% of the total. This was followed by real estate activities at P35.57 billion and manufacturing with P19.30 billion worth of pledges.

A total of P32.66 billion (or around 19%) of the investment commitments will go to projects in the Ilocos Region in the final three months of last year. This was followed by Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon Region (Calabarzon)(and Central Luzon with P30.71 billion and P5.70 billion, respectively.

Meanwhile, investment pledges from Filipino nationals grew annually by 10.7% to P304.55 billion in the fourth quarter. It accounted for 63.7% of the combined pledges worth P478.16 billion, which was also up by 17%.

If these projects take shape, foreign and local investments pledged during the fourth quarter are expected to generate 23,364 jobs across industries. This was 19.2% more than the projected jobs a year ago. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona

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