Manila Market Intelligence: April 22, 2020

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Grab goes full blast with grocery service 

NEWS

Transport service provider Grab Philippines has ramped up its on-demand grocery service amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Luzon. One of the application’s features, Grab Mart, offers on-demand delivery in as fast as 30 minutes. Essentials such as grocery items, personal care products and medicines can be availed using the service. The service is currently available in select areas of Metro Manila and users are encouraged to use online payment for safer payment transactions. 

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RESEARCH VIEW

Colliers believes that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon has allowed retailers to innovate. A report by Shopify noted that customers are likely to expect an online presence for each retailer as more retailers are now exploring a wide range of shopping and delivery options. In our opinion, brick-and-mortar stores should expand their online presence to reach more customers and respond to social distancing measures being implemented by the government. The central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, recorded an e-commerce penetration of 39% in 2018. We see this rising in the near term as retailers, mall operators, and consumers respond to the need to sell and buy essential items online.

Government looks into resumption of POGOs

NEWS

According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the government is currently evaluating a proposal to allow Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to resume operations. This would partially assist the government’s goal of generating funds for relief efforts during the pandemic. The Depart of Finance stated that Q1 tax collections from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) declined by 1.7% or PHP600.86 billion (USD11.78 billion) from PHP611.03 billion (USD11.98 billion) in the same period of 2019. The government projects the monthly collection of about PHP2 billion (USD39.22 million) in taxes from POGO operators

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RESEARCH VIEW

POGOs currently cover about 11% of total leasable office space in Metro Manila or 1.26 million sq metres. In 2019, these companies accounted for 37% of total office deals in Metro Manila. Initially, we projected POGOs to cover about a third of the estimated 900,000 sq metres of office take up in Metro Manila in 2020. However, the expansion of POGOs from 2020 to 2021 hinges on the lifting of travel restrictions to and from China. Despite this, Colliers has recorded office pre-leasing from POGOs in 2020. 

Philippine economy may shrink by 2% — S&P 

NEWS

Credit rating firm S&P Global has downgraded its Philippine GDP growth outlook. The credit rating agency has downgraded its GDP growth forecast to 2.0% from 4.2% previously. Meanwhile, S&P upgraded its 2021 GDP outlook to 9% from its 6.4% growth projection in December. The credit rating firm also expects unemployment to rise to 6.8% in 2020 from 6.1% in 2019. 

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RESEARCH VIEW

S&P’s revised forecast is within the growth projections of government agencies and other credit rating firms. The Philippine Finance department is projecting a -1% to 0% growth for 2020 while the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is estimating a growth of between -0.6% to 4.3%. Historical data from Colliers show that office and residential demand soften during an economic crisis. We saw this during the Asian and Global financial meltdowns. In our opinion, the recovery of the property sector in 2021 hinges on the pace of expansion of Philippine and global economies.

 

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Joey Bondoc

Senior Manager

Manila

Prior to joining Colliers in March 2016, Joey worked as a Research Manager for a research and consutancy firm where he handled business, political, and macroeconomic analysis. He took part in a number of consultancy projects with multilateral agencies and provided research support and policy recommendations to key government officials and top executives of MNCs in the Philippines.

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