High expectation of nat’l recovery

Published July 28, 2020, 10:34 PM

by Manila Bulletin

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.