Amid so much news of business closures, job losses, and many nations seeing their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fall to unprecedented levels, it is good to hear positive reports in some sectors, reports of expectations of recovery from the depth to which the COVID-19 pandemic has bought the entire world.
The Philippines’ GDP contracted to 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, as the pandemic, which had begun in China in December, 2019, started to spread to nearby countries, including Singapore and the Philippines.
As the first quarter ended in March, the Philippines started to Iockdown various areas of the country, starting with an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon on March 16. .
We slowly gained in this fight in Quarter 2 – April to June. We are now in the middle of Quarter 3 – July to September. Last weekend, the Bank of China made this assessment: the Phiippine economy should start to recovcer in this coming Quarter 4 – October to December.
This is even more optimistic than the projection of Philippine economic managers who see a Philippine GDP contraction of 2 to 3.4 percent this year. Then they expect the national economy to rebound next year with a GDP growth of 8 to 9 percent.
This optimism is shared by the country’s biggest diversified conglomerate – San Miguel Corp. (SMC) – whose President Ramon Ang said it had started its own recovery in May and June. Like all other businesses, SMC suffered a big decline in the first and second quarters of the year. From practically zero business in April, he said, its businesses — food and beverage, power, infrastructure, fuels – turned in record volumes in June.
Asian food conglomerate Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC), which has 5,800 outlets in 35 countries, said it is already recovering in the United States, China, and other countries. “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted our business and our lives, but JFC is adapting very quickly and decisively,” JFC Chief Executive Officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said.
The whole world is looking to the development of a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the start of economic recovery. But the most hopeful expectation is that a vaccine will be ready only by December and then it will take months to manufacture and distribute the billions of doses needed by countries around the world.
We too have high hopes tied to the discovery of a vaccine, but even without it, we are beginning to recover. The Bank of China expects this to come as early as this fourth quarter, while private enterprises like SMB and JFC, seeing the progress in their own operations, are full of optimism for the entire country.
With or without a vaccine, we should see recovery in our country starting this fourth quarter, judging from all these upbeat observations and expectations. We may yet have a the kind of joyful Christmas season we are used to.