By Arlyn Tan
The vaccination roll-out in the Philippines provided a beacon of light for many in the midst of helplessness when the infected cases reached as high as 15K levels last March. The initiative gives a layer of security to the vulnerable and reignites increased activities outside the home.
As of May 23, 2021, the Philippines has administered at least 4,097,425 doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 1.9% of the country’s population. During the last week reported, the Philippines averaged about 126,606 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a further 171 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population.(1)
Nevertheless, the vaccination program paves the way to the reopening theme which can help our country achieve 5-6% GDP growth by the end of 2021. In 2020, the country’s GDP tanked to -17% due to the locked down measures of the government. The reopening enables many businesses to gradually open and provide employment. The prospects of increased economic activity from consumption, production, capital formation and trade can spark the economic growth of our country. With more front liners being inoculated, the Philippines healthcare system can preserve its capacity in terms of human resources. It also means a lot to our mental wellness where we hear less negative news about death and illnesses of friends and families.
What are the implications of this milestone to your financial plan as individual, investor and entrepreneur?
On the individual level, the gradual increase in mobility brings excitement and reasons to celebrate. All are aiming for refreshing and reenergizing experiences through day trips to the beaches, mountains or just around the cities.
For entrepreneurs’ whose cash flows have been affected negatively because of decreased consumption can expect better business performance. However, the profitability is highly dependent on the target market’s appetite to purchase the entrepreneurs’ services and products and the company’s cost control system.
Work schedules can result in some form of hybrid work or work from everywhere. For those who are required to go to the office, work related expenses travel time should be considered. For those working from home or from everywhere, subscription to higher bandwidth can mean higher monthly subscription expenses.
The Phil Stock Index can have the chance to rise above 6200 which could directly affect the index funds performance. Index funds are offered by trust companies, insurance companies, and asset management companies. It had failed to sustain the 7200 level which was reached last August 2020. Since March 15, 2021, it has been range trading between 6200-6500. The foreign funds have exited Philippines as a reaction to rising inflation, the surge of virus infection, and reimposition of mobility restrictions.
The global funds present better growth prospects because countries like the US and China are more advanced in their efforts when it comes to vaccination, government policies in mobility. As of May 22,2021 US has vaccinated 284M doses while China, 497M doses. This represents 35% of the population of each country. Domestic tourist numbers had spiked during the Labor Day holidays.
Despite the increase in vaccination, many people may have changed their preferences for the long haul which may spell the end of some businesses and the birth of new start-ups. Entrepreneurs can take this opportunity to pivot through digitalization, fresh funding, a change in business model. There is no sufficient data on the expected spending per category in the Philippines. In the US, consumers shifted spending to food, groceries, housing utilities, consumer durables, financial services and insurance. The Asian consumers are more likely to spend on discretionary items like
Interest Rates tend to rise when economic activity goes up. The deposit rates, loan rates and bond yields follow the direction of the interest rates. It is good news that BSP keeps interest rates at 2%, lowest in record. Its inflation target is between 2-4%. With the ongoing vaccination, the government may keep its accommodative stance to support the economic recovery of the Philippines.
A speedy distribution of vaccines coupled with continuous practice of safety protocols can restore confidence and relax restrictions on many social and economic activities. Public awareness of the impact of vaccines on the country’s GDP and individual’s financial plan can encourage more Filipinos to adopt the public health measures, instead of resisting them. Remember, more jabs mean more jobs.
Arlyn Tan is a Strategic Wealth Consultant. She helps individuals and organizations on how to maximize the value of their money through risk, health & wealth management. Her mission lies in making sure that clients achieve 3 things. First, they reach their milestones on time with sufficient resources. Second, they protect them from the impact of economic losses secondary to unexpected events. The third and most important is that they enjoy meaningful and balanced lives.
LinkedIn/Twitter: Arlyn Tan