Philippines Rings Cash Register in Gulf

Middle East investors are renewing their enthusiasm for the Philippines, in tandem with a state visit to the Gulf by President Duterte. One Manila-based official suggests that the tough-talking leader could bring home $650 million in investment commitments from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. The number is understated. Preliminary data does not include the flurry of private-sector activity that flows from official agreements. The focus appears to be on agriculture, given the Arab penchant for food-security, as well as infrastructure on the Muslim-influenced island of Mindanao. Those deals ought to play out well. Economic activity in the Philippines is robust; growth should accelerate by as much as 7% this year alone. At least among the Saudis, there is an attempt to compensate for the attention cast on Indonesia during King Salman’s visit there in March. More importantly, the cash outlays spotlight the risk-tolerant nature of Gulf names in the post-oil era.

Our Vantage Point: Arab investors are moving beyond their risk-adverse heritage in government bonds and real estate. Aggressive allocations to emerging markets are increasingly common.

Learn more at Arab News.

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Image: Grand Mosque in Cotobato City is the largest mosque in the Philippines. Credit: Tonyoquias at Can Stock Photo Inc.