MANILA — Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Philippines fell for the first time in three years in 2018 to $9.8 billion, nearly 4.5 percent lower than prior year’s record inflow, the central bank data showed on Monday.
Net FDI in 2017 had hit an all-time high of $10.26 billion.
Equity capital investment in 2018 dropped to $2.3 billion from $3.4 billion the year before. A bulk of these inflows came from Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, and China, and channeled mainly to manufacturing, financial, real estate, and a few other sectors.
Investment in debt instruments rose 11 percent to $6.7 billion from $6.0 billion in 2017.
Despite it being one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, the Philippines lags regional peers in terms of attracting foreign direct investments because of foreign ownership restrictions, high power costs and poor infrastructure.
The Philippines‘ 2018 FDI figure pales in comparison with the $29.3 billion and $19.1 billion that Indonesia and Vietnam respectively received last year.
Late last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order further liberalizing investment rules to lure much needed foreign capital and help boost economic growth.
The order removed ownership restrictions and further opened up certain sectors and activities such as construction and repair of locally-funded public works projects to foreigners.
— Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Shreejay Sinha