Global Economy

How investors can play Southeast Asia's upcoming elections

Unlike in Thailand and Indonesia, the Philippine leader — President Rodrigo Duterte — is not facing election this year. But the vote to select members in the legislative body roughly mid-way through Duterte’s six-year term is seen by some analysts as a referendum on the president’s policies.

Duterte’s approval ratings remained high in recent months, and polls pointed to his allies retaining majority control of the legislative chamber, according to Maybank Kim Eng. The president has increased spending in his latest government budget, with a focus on social and infrastructure projects.

Pre-election spending in the Philippines has traditionally benefited consumer, media and retail stocks, said Maybank Kim Eng. The Malaysian financial services firm singled out shares of media conglomerate ABS-CBN to be the most sensitive to such spending given the typical boost in advertising revenues during elections.


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