Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-drug war and his foul-mouthed outbursts in defense of the campaign have unnerved foreign investors in one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.
Analysts and businessmen point to uncertainties about Duterte’s policies and flip-flopping pronouncements as largely to blame for foreign selling in the stock market and the peso’s plunge to a seven-year low, reversing the initial optimism after his June 30 inauguration.
Some experts say unpredictability is slowing longer-term foreign investment in the Philippines. Photos and reports in the media of killings of suspected drug dealers and users — more than 3,000 since July 1 — have contributed to sagging confidence.
The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines said this month that while the country’s economic fundamentals are strong and its potential high, there is growing concern that Duterte’s policies and behavior could affect long-standing optimism by American businesses in the Philippines.
Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said that the fundamentals of the economy are solid and strong, and that the anti-drug campaign will enhance the Philippines’ image to attract more foreign investment.
In a speech to troops the day after the S&P Global warning was released, Duterte shrugged off the agency’s remarks. He said if business and the economy are affected, “so be it.”
“Get out, then we start on our own,” he said, apparently referring to Western investors. “I can go to China. I can go to Russia. I had a talk with them. They are waiting for me. So what the hell.”
Source and image: Mainichi