Thursday, 2 December 2010

Economic vitality list ranks Manila in top 10 worldwide


METRO MANILA is among the top 10 metropolitan areas worldwide with the best economic performance following the global recession, a ranking issued by the public policy group The Brookings Institution showed.

Brookings, in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science and Deutsche Bank Research, last Tuesday released its "Global MetroMonitor" report measuring the economic vitality of 150 areas in terms of income and employment.

Metropolitan economies -- defined as integrated collections of cities, suburbs and even surrounding rural areas that are "centers of high-value economic activity in their respective nations and worldwide" -- were ranked in three periods: pre-recession (1993-2007), recession/year of minimum growth (2007-2010) and recovery (2009-2010).

Manila, which placed 34th pre-recession, rose to 24th during the downturn and improved further to 9th during the recovery, the Brookings list showed.

Pre-recession, incomes in the metropolis were up an annual 3.4% while employment rose by 2.6%. At the height of crisis, incomes dipped by 0.9% while employment growth eased to 1.0%. Post-crisis, Metro Manilans’ incomes were said to be up 5.3% and employment, 4.0%.

"The global downturn and recovery are accelerating a shift in growth towards lower-income metropolitan areas in Asia and Latin America," the report stated.

The recovery period ranking was led by Istanbul, followed by Shenzhen, Lima, Singapore, Santiago, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Manila and Rio de Janeiro.

The bottom ten, meanwhile, was comprised of Athens, Madrid, Johannesburg, Riga, Valencia, Las Vegas, Thessaloniki, Barcelona, Dubai and Dublin.

Dublin, in particular, highlighted how the "Great Recession" had affected economies. From sixth in the pre-recession period it was now in last place.

"The past two decades have seen lower-income metro areas in the global East and South ‘close the gap’ with higher-income metros in Europe and the United States, and the worldwide economic upheaval has only accelerated the shift in growth toward metros in those rising regions of the world," Brookings said.

As lower-income metro areas are expected to post faster growth, the report said policy makers should brace for increased demand from a growing middle class.

Growing demand, it added, will also put pressure on public services and living environments.
Brookings explained that it was "concerned with the dynamics of metropolitan economies and how they compare in terms of their growth performance and potential rather than their absolute economic performance levels."

Sought for comment, National Economic and Development Authority Deputy Director-General Augusto B. Santos said Manila’s inclusion reflected the resilience of the Philippine economy and the effect of fiscal and monetary stimulus provided by the government.

"We are not as dependent in exports compared to Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan," he claimed.

He added about a fourth the country’s total gross domestic product was attributable to Metro Manila. -- JJAC

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