The Philippines stock market is outshining most other emerging markets this year, despite the country's weak economic status and involvement at the heart of the South China Sea dispute. As Tara Joseph reports, the country's tough talking new president is boosting hopes for reform.
A president known as 'The Punisher' Military alert on its shores ... And emerging markets on shaky ground. You'd think all that would spell bad news for business in the Philippines - but instead investors are bullish. Very. Filipine stocks are up nearly 15 percent so far this year - making Manila the second highest performer in Asia. A far cry from Shanghai, which is down by almost the same amount. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING "It's been known as the sick man of Asia, with frighteningly high poverty levels and chronically poor infrastructure. In truth, all that still exists, but with new president Rodrigo Duterte taking office, coupled with the country's fresh visibility around the world - investors are betting on change." Duterte plans to ramp up spending on infrastructure - taking on big problems like Manila's notorious traffic congestion. That's driving up major construction stocks - with knock on effects for industries like telecoms. The Philippines also stands to benefit from it's growing young middle Class - The country has become a magnet for International corporate call centres and a range of consumer brands looking for alternative markets in Asia now the China is slowing. The strong market performance may only last as long as investors are convinced that Duterte will deliver on his promises. But for now - it's occupying a rare sweet spot for emerging market investors.