FDI net inflows into Philippines drop 2.2% year-on-year in February as Covid-19 total hits 1,113,547

A person processes a swab test at a Covid-19 test site set up in Quezon City, Metro Manila, the Philippines, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The Philippines’ economy is struggling to gain momentum as elevated numbers of Covid cases hamper reopening efforts and destroy jobs. - Bloomberg

MANILA, May 11 (Xinhua): Foreign direct investment (FDI) net inflows into the Philippines has reached US$608 million in February, 2.2 per cent lower than the amount recorded in the same period last year, the Philippine central bank said on Tuesday.

This slight decline emanated mainly from the 88.3 per cent drop in non-residents' net investments in equity capital to US$20 million in February, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

These were invested mainly in the manufacturing; real estate; wholesale and retail trade; financial and insurance; and electricity, gas, steam, and air-conditioning supply industries, the BSP added.

Despite the decline in February, the BSP said the FDI net inflows in the first two months this year were higher by 20.6 per cent at US$1.6 billion compared with the amount reported in the same period in 2020.

"This was due mainly to the 67.7 per cent expansion in non-residents' net investments in debt instruments to US$1.1 billion from US$626 million," the BSP said.

Meanwhile, The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Tuesday (may 11) its first two cases of the new Covid-19 variant first detected in India.

Alethea De Guzman of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau said the B.1.617 variant was detected from samples taken from two seafarers who arrived in the country from Oman on April 10 and the United Arab Emirates on April 19.

De Guzman said the two, who had no travel history from India, have already recovered. She added that the two were immediately quarantined upon arrival, so they did not have any close contacts.

The DOH also reported on Tuesday 4,734 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 1,113,547.

The death toll climbed to 18,620 after 59 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

The Philippines, which has about 110 million population, has tested over 11 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that the Philippines is gaining momentum in the fight against the Covid-19 as the country is put at low risk with the drop in the two-week growth rate of COVID-19 infections.

Despite the overall improving condition, Duque said there is no room for complacency because there are still areas with positive two-week growth rates, adding that Metro Manila and four other regions still have a high average daily infection rate. - Xinhua
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