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Philipine 3 year Bond is The Best Choice

"Two- and three-year bonds would be a safe choice in case the central bank no longer cuts rates and the market remains apprehensive on supply," Singapore-based Belhimeur said in an interview. "Treasury bill rates are too low now and won't drop any further if the central bank doesn't cut."

Investors should buy Philippine government debt maturing in two and three years as concerns supply will increase and rate cuts will end reduce demand for longer-maturity notes, Standard Chartered Plc said. Yields on 91-day bills at an 18-month low will deter buyers at the short end of the curve, said Khalil Belhimeur, a fixed- income strategist at the British lender that earns most of its profit in Asia. The government's 10-year borrowing cost climbed to the highest level this year on estimates for a record budget deficit and as the central bank said it may review its policy of lowering rates. The yield on the benchmark three-year note climbed to 5.67 percent on Aug. 3, a two-week high, and was at 5.54 percent today, according to Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. in Manila. The 91-day bill yield, which banks use to price loans, fell on July 27 to 3.85 percent, the least since January 2008. It has dropped 2.27 percentage points this year, more than the 2 percentage point reduction in the overnight rate by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Looking for Value The difference between three-year bond yields and the central bank's benchmark overnight borrowing rate of 4 percent is about 1.54 percentage points, 44 basis points higher than the average spread since the start of the central bank's rate- reduction cycle in mid-December, Belhimeur said. The gap will narrow as the three-year yields drop, he forecast, without giving details. "People will start looking for more value and start shifting to two- and three-years with or without a BSP cut because liquidity is still flush," according to Belhimeur. Placements with the central bank's overnight and special accounts, a gauge of surplus cash, totaled 844 billion pesos ($17.7 billion) as of July 10, according to the latest available data. A sale of five-year debt this week failed, as did an auction of 10-year bonds on July 21, because the government didn't want to offer yields that investors demanded. The Bureau of the Treasury will auction 8.5 billion pesos of treasury bills on Aug. 10 as the Southeast Asian nation funds its budget deficit, which is estimated at 250 billion pesos this year. Signs of economic recovery may prompt policy makers to review their accommodative stance, central bank Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said on Aug. 4, echoing similar comments by Assistant Governor Cyd Tuano-Amador on July 22, when she signaled a pause after six rate cuts. Philippine bonds have returned 5.9 percent this year, making them the second-best performers among the 10 regional local-currency debt markets in Asia, according to an index compiled by HSBC Holdings Plc.

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Philippines to raise $750 million Bonds

The 10.5-year bonds, (they mature on January 20, 2020, in order to stagger the government's repayment obligations) were at 100.25 by the close of Asian trading yesterday after being re-offered at 99.065. The bonds were priced with a coupon of 6.5%, which at the re-offer price gives a yield of 6.625%. This corresponded to the tight end of the initial yield guidance of 6.625% to 6.75% that was set by the three bookrunners early on during marketing. The guidance was firmed up in the early evening Hong Kong time, when investors got the message that the final yield would be fixed at 6.625%.

The Philippines returned to the Asian bond market on Monday to raise another $750 million towards its gaping budget shortfall, and as expected, investors rallied around and allowed it to price tight. The offering was supported by a significant rally in US equities during the final hours of marketing, which gave investors the confidence to buy despite a sharp contraction in credit spreads over the past few months. It also helped that the sovereign set clearly defined terms which it stuck to throughout the marketing. During the final few hours of the bookbuilding investors even had a fixed yield as a reference point for their investment decisions. "It went out with a finite size and well-defined terms and it didn't move the goal posts. But the tight pricing was also possible because of the deep domestic investor base," said a source close to the offering, who noted that it was primarily the local investors who were driving up the price in the secondary market yesterday too.

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Philippines' Gov May Offer $750 Million Bonds

Developing-nation dollar bonds have rallied this year, pushing the extra yield investors demand to own the debt over U.S. Treasuries to 4.50 percentage points from 6.90 points at the start of the year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s EMBI+ Index. The spread over Treasuries has widened from as low as 4.07 points on June 10, indicating that investors' appetite for risks is waning. "The fiscal situation in the region as a whole is more of a concern now," said Vishnu Varathan, a regional economist at Forecast Singapore Pte. "India highlighted the situation. Economies in the region have a huge impetus to raise funds."

The Philippines plans to sell up to $750 million of dollar bonds to plug a record budget deficit, its second overseas debt issuance this year. The government hired Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG to arrange the sale and the securities due January 2020 will be priced today in New York, according to an e-mail sent to investors. The bond will be priced to yield about 6.625 percent, according to people familiar with the sale, who asked not to be identified. The government is turning to global investors for funds after falling tax revenue and rising economic stimulus spending forced it to revise the budget deficit target three times this year. Emerging-market bond funds have recorded 13 consecutive weeks of net inflows as the world credit crisis eased, according to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research firm EPFR Global.

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Inflation in Philippines Plunged in June

Inflation in the Philippines fell to 1.5 percent in June, from 3.3 percent in May.

June's rate of inflation is significantly different from June of 2008's 11.4 percent inflation. It links back to a plunge in energy prices, according to official figures. In the summer of 2008, the price of crude oil reached more than $140 a barrel, but this summer it is trading at about $65. The country's central bank forecast that inflation will fall to about 1 percent by the third quarter before picking up again in the fourth quarter.

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Philippine Inflation To Ease Further In March

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said inflation is likely to fall within the range of 5.9 percent and 6.8 percent in March due to the downward adjustments in transport fares and electricity rates.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said inflation is likely to fall within the range of 5.9 percent and 6.8 percent in March due to the downward adjustments in transport fares and electricity rates. Inflation in February was at 7.3 percent. The BSP projected inflation to decline to 3.9 percent this year from 9.3 percent las year due to slower economic activities and lower oil and food prices. Inflation is expected to reach 4.7 percent in 2010. The BSP had set an inflation target range of 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent for this year and 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent for 2010.

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Philippine External Debt Continues Decline In November

The Philippines' external debt has declined as of the end of November last year on the back of prepayments and continued economic expansion.

The Philippines' external debt has declined as of the end of November last year on the back of prepayments and continued economic expansion. Consequently, the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio has eased further. The country's external debt declined from $54.427 billion in 2007 to $53.492 billion at the end of November in 2008. The external debt to GDP ratio declined from 40.22 percent in November 2007 to 31.77 percent in November 2008.

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Philippine Factory Output Slumps to Asian Crisis Levels

The National Statistics Office said Tuesday that factory output in January have slumped to levels not seen since the 1997 Asian financial crisis due to the current global economic downturn.

The National Statistics Office said Tuesday that factory output in January have slumped to levels not seen since the 1997 Asian financial crisis due to the current global economic downturn. The country's volume of production index fell in January by 19.9 percent. The country's manufacturing firms have been cutting production since last November with a 6.6 percent contraction and continued in December at -15.4 percent. Factory output declined by 24.4 percent in November 1998, the year when the Asian financial crisis peaked.

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Philippine Government Mulls Insurance For Crisis-Hit Workers

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it is recommending a P6-billion unemployment insurance program for Filipinos who lost their jobs due to the global financial crisis. Such a program would cover 100,000 to 200,000 jobless Filipinos.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it is recommending a P6-billion unemployment insurance program for Filipinos who lost their jobs due to the global financial crisis. Such a program would cover 100,000 to 200,000 jobless Filipinos. NEDA projects that around 60,000 to 200,000 jobs could be lost under the current crisis. The financial assistance, which would be provided by the Social Security System (SSS), could last up to six months, with each member getting either P5,000 or P10,000 a month, depending on the number of beneficiaries.

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Philippine Peso Least Volatile Currency In Asia

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that the Philippine peso has been the least volatile currency in the region, despite the steady depreciation of the peso against the dollar.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that the Philippine peso has been the least volatile currency in the region, despite the steady depreciation of the peso against the dollar. The Philippines' central bank has expressed its confidence that it will not need to intervene to prop up the peso. The peso has only depreciated by 1.55 percent as of Friday. The peso's volatility rate from January up to Friday was recorded at 1.36 percent. A stable peso is important in providing a stable operating environment for businesses that plan ahead based on what they expect the foreign exchange rate would be.

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philippines

Moody's Cuts Outlook On Philippine Banks

Moody's Investors Service cut its credit outlook for the Philippine banking industry to negative over the next 12 to 18 months, saying that the slowing economy would have an adverse impact on the profits of local lenders.

Moody's Investors Service cut its credit outlook for the Philippine banking industry to negative over the next 12 to 18 months, saying that the slowing economy would have an adverse impact on the profits of local lenders. The quality of the banks' assets are expected to decline as they are burdened by non-performing assets and slowing economic growth. The declining trend in overseas Filipino worker remittances would also negatively impact the banks' strategic plans and positioning. Moody's still maintains a positive outlook for the Philippine banks' foreign currency deposit and debt ratings as wel las for the country's sovereign ratings.

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Philippines Has Little Room To Hike Deficit – ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that the Philippine government does not have much fiscal room to increase its budget deficit further given the country's current GDP ratios. The ADB also expressed its support to the proposed revenue enhancement measures in Congress. The Philippine government had increased its budget deficit program to P177.2 billion or 2 percent of GDP this year from P102 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that the Philippine government does not have much fiscal room to increase its budget deficit further given the country's current GDP ratios. The ADB also expressed its support to the proposed revenue enhancement measures in Congress. The Philippine government had increased its budget deficit program to P177.2 billion or 2 percent of GDP this year from P102 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP.

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Philippine Central Bank Seen To End Interest Rate Cuts Soon

A report by HSBC expects that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is likely to end its loose monetary policies soon.

A report by HSBC expects that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is likely to end its loose monetary policies soon. The BSP reduced its overnight borrowing and lending rates by 25 basis points earlier this month, to 4.75 percent and 6.75 percent, respectively. The report believes the central bank will have its final rate cut of another 50 basis points soon, citing that it does not need to have further rate cuts because inflation and exchange rates have stabilized and because the country has ample onshore liquidity.

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Philippines Sees Double-Digit Growth In OFW Remittances In 1st Quarter

Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to post double-digit growth in the first two months of 2009.

Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to post double-digit growth in the first two months of 2009. This is better than what the central bank expected – a flat growth from the $16.4 billion posted last year. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported that the 188,000 job offers for Filipinos abroad has offset the 5,000 OFWs that were laid off recently. OFW remittances contribute about 10 percent to the country's gross domestic product.

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philippines

Philippine Consumer Pessimism Remains In First Quarter

A recent Consumer Expectation Survey done by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine central bank, showed that Filipinos remained pessimistic in the first quarter of the year.

A recent Consumer Expectation Survey done by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine central bank, showed that Filipinos remained pessimistic in the first quarter of the year. Overall consumer confidence registered at -25.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009, down from -32.1 percent and -40.3 percent in the first and fourth quarters last year. The improvement in consumer confidence was partly due to the lower price of oil and other food items and positive news that the global financial crisis will not hit the Philippines as hard as other more advanced economies. But pessimism remained because of continuing concerns over unemployment and low incomes.

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Philippine Central Bank Expects Drop In Trade Deficit

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's central bank, recently projected that the Philippines' trade deficit will drop to $10.7 billion as a result of a sharp decline in global trade.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's central bank, recently projected that the Philippines' trade deficit will drop to $10.7 billion as a result of a sharp decline in global trade. BSP last projected in August 2008 that the trade deficit in 2009 will hit $16.5 billion. But the bank revised its projections as they anticipated that exports and imports would continue to decline significantly. BSP projected that both exports and imports will decline by 8 percent this year.

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Philippine BPO Jobs Grow Despite Global Crisis

The Philippines' business process outsourcing (BPO) industry continues to grow despite the global financial crisis.

The Philippines' business process outsourcing (BPO) industry continues to grow despite the global financial crisis. The industry created 372,000 jobs in 2008, a 25 percent growth over 2007. Officials estimate that over 452,000 jobs will be created in the industry by the end of 2009. Employment growth in the industry was experienced at call centers and in non-voice jobs involving software development, engineering and back-office operations outsourced by Western companies.

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9,000 Jobs Available In Philippines And South Korea

Officials from the Philippines' Labor Department said that at least 9,000 jobs are immediately available in the country and abroad.

Officials from the Philippines' Labor Department said that at least 9,000 jobs are immediately available in the country and abroad. Some 3,000 jobs are available in the local hotel and restaurant industry while 6,000 jobs are available in South Korea. An increase in domestic tourism, which is boosted by foreign remittances, have resulted in the expansion of the local hotel and restaurant industries and the creation of the 3,000 job vacancies. An agreement between the Philippines and South Korea also made the 6,000 vacancies available. Moreover, 500,000 jobs are expected to be available once the Inchon Free Economic Zone begins its operations.

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Local Layoffs Worry Philippines

Local job losses are increasing at a faster pace than the number of laid-off overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Friday.

Local job losses are increasing at a faster pace than the number of laid-off overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Friday. From October 2008 to March 4, 42,000 domestic workers were laid off compared to 5,700 OFWs. Moreover, an average of 3,000 OFWs is deployed per day. Thus, the focus of the Philippine government's worries is on domestic jobs. The government expects employment programs to generate 824,555 jobs this year.

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philippines

Philippine Central Bank Cuts Interest Rate Amid Benign Inflation

In an expected move, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's central bank, cut interest rates again on expectations that inflation would fall within its target range this year.

In an expected move, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's central bank, cut interest rates again on expectations that inflation would fall within its target range this year. Overnight borrowing and lending rates were cut by 25 basis points to 4.75 percent and 5.75 percent, respectively. This is the third consecutive reduction of rates since December 2008. The rate cut aims to encourage lending and support economic growth. Inflation rose in February from 7.1 percent to 7.3 percent in January, which is still within the BSP forecast of between 6.6 percent and 7.4 percent.

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Philippines: Massive Infrastructure Program For Agriculture, Fisheries, Pushed

Philippine Agricultural Secretary Arthur Yap said that a massive infrastructure program for the farm and fisheries sector will help shield the domestic economy from the effects of the global economic downturn. Such an infrastructure build up in the countryside will create more jobs and guarantee the country's food security.

Philippine Agricultural Secretary Arthur Yap said that a massive infrastructure program for the farm and fisheries sector will help shield the domestic economy from the effects of the global economic downturn. Such an infrastructure build up in the countryside will create more jobs and guarantee the country's food security. The Department of Agriculture has adjusted its programs by moving funds from farm input subsidies to hard infrastructure to boost the agricultural sector and ensure the compression of the supply chain. Proper infrastructure would also lower production costs, increase rural incomes and improve returns on investments for agribusinesses.

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Philippine Government Fails To Borrow Long-Term Funds

The government failed to borrow long-term funds because of the lack of investor appetite ahead of a possible interest rate cut by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipnas (BSP) and several sales of corporate debt-paper.

The government failed to borrow long-term funds because of the lack of investor appetite ahead of a possible interest rate cut by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipnas (BSP) and several sales of corporate debt-paper. The Bureau of Treasury had planned to raise up to P10 billion from the sale of 10-year coupon bonds. But investors only bought P7.685 billion with interest rates ranging from 7.5 percent to 9.5 percent. The government offered the zero coupon bonds after they got a "strong inquiry" from investors. But the fund raising failed since "it is a matter of pricing".

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Philippine Government To Incur Budget Deficit Until 2012

The inter-agency Development and Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) forecasts that the Philippine government will have a budget deficit until 2012.

The inter-agency Development and Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) forecasts that the Philippine government will have a budget deficit until 2012. The DBCC sees a funding gap of 2.2 percent of GDP this year, 1.5 percent next year, 1 percent in 2011 and 0.5 percent in 2012. The DBCC also expects that government revenues collected from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs will have an increasing trend in the next three years. The macroeconomic assumptions for 2009 to 2012 is based on the meeting of the DBCC-Executive Technical Board.

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Philippine-Japan Agreement Secures Jobs For Filipino Health Workers

The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), which was signed in September 2006, has secured jobs for Filipino health workers in Japan.

The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), which was signed in September 2006, has secured jobs for Filipino health workers in Japan. Over 400 Filipino nurses and 600 caregivers are expected to be deployed within two years. Under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services, these nurses and caregivers are guaranteed a three-year contract, provided they pass the Japanese licensure examinations. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hopes that JPEPA will provide more jobs for Filipinos and more trade in outsourcing, tourism, maritime and air transport, banking and telecommunications.

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Survey Shows Philippine Businessmen Still Cautiously Pessimistic

A survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippine central bank, shows that Philippine businesses remained cautiously pessimistic for the first half of the year due to increasing concerns about the global economic downturn.

A survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippine central bank, shows that Philippine businesses remained cautiously pessimistic for the first half of the year due to increasing concerns about the global economic downturn. The Business Expectation Survey shows that the overall confidence index for the first quarter of 2009 dropped to -23.9 percent from -6.8 in the fourth quarter last year. The figures reflect pessimism among the 1,410 small, medium and large firms in the country, who are mainly importers and exporters, about the general economic climate. The pessimism comes from expected weaker economic activities, tighter credit access, higher interest rates and inflation.

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Philippine Economy Catching Up With Neighbors'

The Secretary of Economic Planning, Secretary Ralph Recto, said that the Philippine economy is growing, albeit at a slower pace, and is therefore "catching up" with other countries in the Southeast Asian region that are in contraction.

The Secretary of Economic Planning, Secretary Ralph Recto, said that the Philippine economy is growing, albeit at a slower pace, and is therefore "catching up" with other countries in the Southeast Asian region that are in contraction. The government is set to lower its growth forecast for 2009. But their revised forecast will be higher than those of credit ratings agencies and those of other countries in the region. The government also might raise its target limit for the budget deficit ceiling to 2 percent of GDP. The current GDP growth forecast is between 3.7 to 4.7 percent while the target ceiling for the budget deficit is 1.2 percent of GDP, or P102 billion.

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Philippines' OFW Deployment Up Despite Global Crisis

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reported that departures of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) increased by 25 percent from a year earlier to 165,000 in January.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reported that departures of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) increased by 25 percent from a year earlier to 165,000 in January. This increase in the departures of jobseekers come despite the global crisis and the return of thousands of electronics workers last year. Over 8.5 million OFWs temporarily work abroad and send money back home. These remittances have become a major part of the Philippine economy.

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philippines

Philippines: 39,000 Lose Jobs

According to the Department of Labor and Employment, at least 39,000 Filipinos have lost their jobs since October.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment, at least 39,000 Filipinos have lost their jobs since October. This figure includes over 5,400 overseas-based Filipinos in the Middle East and Taiwan who had lost their jobs. The majority of these lost jobs were in the electronic and manufacturing sectors. The government set aside P7 billion ($149 million) to create 180,000 "emergency jobs" this year to mitigate unemployment. It is also offering retraining programs for the unemployed, where the business process outsourcing sector is hoped to pick up those who are properly retrained as it is projected to grow 20 percent this year despite the crisis.

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Philippines: Government Use Of Foreign Aid Falls Despite Promised Stimulus

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), disbursement of foreign aid for public projects by Philippine agencies decreased more than half last year as they failed to use the available funds.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), disbursement of foreign aid for public projects by Philippine agencies decreased more than half last year as they failed to use the available funds. The amount of official development assistance (ODA) that was used last year dropped by 60 percent from $1.9 billion in 2007 to $781 million in 2008. The implementing government agencies blamed the fall of the disbursement of foreign aid to delayed procurement and processing of contracts, delayed release of budgets, revision of targets due to cost increase and modification of design.

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IMF Cuts Philippine Growth Forecast, Warns Of Fiscal Blowout

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday that the Philippines' fiscal gap, excluding proceeds from the sale of state assets, would widen to P150 billion, or 2 percent of GDP.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday that the Philippines' fiscal gap, excluding proceeds from the sale of state assets, would widen to P150 billion, or 2 percent of GDP. This is higher than the government assumption of P102 billion, or 1.2 percent of GDP. It argued that slower economic growth translates to lower government revenues as it implements several tax cuts for individuals and corporations to mitigate the effects of the global economic downturn. The IMF also lowered their projection of the country's GDP growth this year from 2.9 percent to 2.25 percent, citing slower remittance, exports and foreign direct investments growth.

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The Philippines to Balance Budget by 2011

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) claims that by 2011, the Philippines plans to have its budget balanced.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) claims that by 2011, the Philippines plans to have its budget balanced. Originally planned for 2008, the deadline was first pushed back to give the Philippines greater economic freedom to stimulate the economy. In 2007, there was a surplus of P54.1 billion, but as of last November there was a gap of P4.3 billion. Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ralph Recto made the following comment, "We do not want the spending to swell our national debt to worsen inflation or to crowd out private initiative Hence, we seek to increase our national government deficit within prudent limits. The international benchmark for the deficit is 2 percent of GDP."

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Philippine Remittances to Slow in 2009

The inflow of remittances from oversea Filipino workers is expected to slow this year as many are losing their jobs because of the global financial crisis.

The inflow of remittances from oversea Filipino workers is expected to slow this year as many are losing their jobs because of the global financial crisis. The Philippines is one of the world's biggest labor-exporting countries, and remittances account for about 10 percent of the total economy. In 2008, approximately 8 million Filipino workers, about 10 percent of the population, worked overseas. Moreover, remittances from oversea workers rose 13.7 percent to $16.4 billion. So far over 5,400 overseas Filipino workers have been displaced by the global financial crisis and analysts expect more job losses in the coming months.

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Philippine Skilled Workers in Short Supply

According to a survey for the 2009 Grant Thornton International Business Report, the majority of Filipino business leaders cite the scarcity of skilled workers as the topmost constraint to expansion.

According to a survey for the 2009 Grant Thornton International Business Report, the majority of Filipino business leaders cite the scarcity of skilled workers as the topmost constraint to expansion. Greg Navarro, Punongbayan & Araullo's chief executive office and managing partner, says, "This mismatch for demand and supply needs to be addressed by a serious collaboration between industry, schools and the government." The lack of skilled workers has hurt many firms, such as the accounting firm of Punongbayan & Araullo, because of their inability to expand.

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Philippines' November net FDI up 68 pct on yr

Although Philippines' FDI inflows in the first 11 months of 2008 fell 41 percent to $1.65 billion from $2.79 billion in 2007, the central bank said in a statement there was a near four-fold increase in foreign equity capital in November.

Although Philippines' FDI inflows in the first 11 months of 2008 fell 41 percent to $1.65 billion from $2.79 billion in 2007, the central bank said in a statement there was a near four-fold increase in foreign equity capital in November. $232 million in net FDI was received in November, boosted by the entry of Hong Kong's First Pacific Co Ltd. in a local mining firm. Foreign equity capital posted a new inflow of $160 million in November against $43 million in the same month of 2007.

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Philippine Exports Fall Again in December

Philippine exports fell at their fastest pace in more than two decades in December as shipments of electronic products continued to contract.

Philippine exports fell at their fastest pace in more than two decades in December as shipments of electronic products continued to contract. The National Statistics Office (NSO) said that merchandise exports, mainly electronics, fell by 40.4 percent to $2.67 billion from $4.48 billion a year ago. The NSO place the majority of the blame on the contraction of electronic products. Due to weakening demand in the country's major markets such as the US, Japan, Hong Kong and China, electronics, which account for half of all exports in the Philippines, fell 47.6 percent.

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Philippine Energy Firm Looks to Build First Wind Farm

Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. (TA Oil) said it will begin to conduct feasibility studies for a proposed wind farm in Western Visayas.

Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. (TA Oil) said it will begin to conduct feasibility studies for a proposed wind farm in Western Visayas. The study, which will take about 6 months, will target Guimaras Island as the first of 12 possible wind farm locations. After the initial wind assessment showed promising results, TA Oil will look into the development of a 10-megawatt to 20-megawatt wind power facility estimated to cost around $2 million per megawatt.

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The Philippine Government Rejects All Treasury Bill Bids

The government has rejected all bids for its treasury bills Monday as the banks demanded too high of rates for the debt papers.

The government has rejected all bids for its treasury bills Monday as the banks demanded too high of rates for the debt papers. The government originally planned to raise P7 billion from the sale of the short-term debt. The average rate for a 91-day treasury bill reached 4.719 percent, up from the previous high of 4.294. The market has put upward pressure on the yields of government paper in anticipation of the upcoming corporate issuance, which should offer more attractive rates for investors.

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Philippine Foreign Reserves Up in January

The Philippines' foreign reserves rose last month with the help of proceeds from the government's bond issuance and privatization of the government's transmission assets.

The Philippines' foreign reserves rose last month with the help of proceeds from the government's bond issuance and privatization of the government's transmission assets. Foreign reserves rose by $2 billion to $39.6 from December to January. Specifically, the increase was helped by the government's 10 year bond issuance and by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.'s (PSALM) proceeds from the privatization of the National Transmission Corp.

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Inflation in the Philippines falls to 7.1 Percent

Inflation dropped to a 10 month low in January to 7.1 percent because of the continued decrease in food and oil prices.

Inflation dropped to a 10 month low in January to 7.1 percent because of the continued decrease in food and oil prices. The National Statistics Office said the rate dropped from 8 percent in December of 2008. The central bank expects the inflation rate to average around 5.5 percent for 2009, which be a return to 2007 numbers after the 2008 spike. The national Statistics Office described the lower inflation in the following statement: "The continued negative annual growth record in the fuel, light and water index along with deceleration in the annual price increment of all the other commodity groups further pushed down the country's year-on-year headline inflation rate."

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IMF Slashes Philippine Growth Forecast

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its projection for the Philippine's economic growth this year to 2.25 percent, down from its earlier forecast of 3.5 percent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its projection for the Philippine's economic growth this year to 2.25 percent, down from its earlier forecast of 3.5 percent. Although still positive, the IMF attributes the slower growth to the stress of its major trading partners amid the global financial crisis. The government plans to spur growth by increasing its expenditure programs and lowering interest rates.

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The Philippines Expected to Grow Budget Deficit by 2% of GDP

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, Ralph Recto, said the government could expand its budget gap to P160 billion or 2 percent of GDP this year.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, Ralph Recto, said the government could expand its budget gap to P160 billion or 2 percent of GDP this year. This is more than 50 percent higher than P102 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP the government had aimed for last year. The deficit was expected to grow because the government's plans to jump start the economy with increased spending. The main culprits of the growing deficit are the increased spending on infrastructure and social services. Recto continued to say the country is in good shape as long as the economy grows faster than the debt.

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800,000 Philippine Jobs at Risk

Ralph Recto, the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, announced Monday that 800,000 workers in the Philippines are at risk of losing their jobs because of the global economic crisis.

Ralph Recto, the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, announced Monday that 800,000 workers in the Philippines are at risk of losing their jobs because of the global economic crisis. Recto continued to point out that manufacturing and export oriented industries are the most vulnerable. The government's previous goal of creating one million jobs will fall far short. Instead, the government will settle for a target around 500,000 jobs. However, the government expects 900,000 workers, from age 15 to 21, to enter the job market. Despite the gloomy outlook, Recto said that the Philippines' employment issue is still better off than the US and China.

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philippines

Philippines : Govt Prepares Three-Year Infra Program

Philippines will spend over P300 billion in order to fund several infrastructure projects in the next three years in an effort to stimulate growth and create jobs.

Philippines will spend over P300 billion in order to fund several infrastructure projects in the next three years in an effort to stimulate growth and create jobs. In order to fund the projects, the Filipino government plans to borrow from the World Bank, The International Finance Corp., among other multilateral organizations, as well as its private sector. P100 billion will be allocated for infrastructural projects, while the rest is expected to be spent in social programs. The projects aim to stimulate economic growth, protect the poor and boost private sector confidence, amid the country's economic downturn which is expected to last a couple years after 2009.

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philippines

Philippines' 2008 Growth May be Weakest in 7 yrs

The Philippine economy may have experienced its slowest growth in 7 years, with growth in 2008 likely to be between 4.2% and and 4.5%.

The Philippine economy may have experienced its slowest growth in 7 years, with growth in 2008 likely to be between 4.2% and and 4.5%. In 2007, the economy reached a record 7.2% expansion. The slowdown is attributed to the oil and food crisis in the first half of 2008, and the global financial crisis in the latter half of the year. The Philippines currently faces several challenges such as plunging exports and decreased remittances from Filipinos working abroad. The government is hoping to implement a fiscal stimulus package in the next few weeks, with an expected value of $7 billion, aimed at spurring economic growth.

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philippines

Philippines: World Bank Sees Fall in Exports, Remittances

The World Bank expects the global economic crisis to particularly impact Philippine's exports and remittance inflows.

The World Bank expects the global economic crisis to particularly impact Philippine's exports and remittance inflows. The organization expects Philippine exports to contract by 1% this year, before growing 1.5% in 2009. The world bank also projected a growth of 4% in remittance inflows to the Philippines, a figure much lower than the country's previous forecast of 6%-8%. In 2010 however, remittances may increase 7.5%. Remittances currently account for 10% of the country's GDP and has been an important source of external financing. The World Bank predicts the country's GDP growth to reach 3% this year.

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philippines

Philippines Strikes Secretive Rice Deal with Vietnam

Philippines, currently the world's largest rice importer, seeks to secure most of its needs for 2009, through a large and quiet governmental agreement with Vietnam.

Philippines, currently the world's largest rice importer, seeks to secure most of its needs for 2009, through a large and quiet governmental agreement with Vietnam. Philippines has already bought 500,000 tones of rice from Vietnam and now hopes to acquire 1m-1.5m tons more. The secretive government-to-government deal is an effort to bypass the international market, thus avoiding any price spikes.

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philippines

Philippine's Central Bank Sees Flat Growth

Philippine's central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, announced that the country's reserves would weaken in 2009 due to the current economic slowdown.

Philippine's central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, announced that the country's reserves would weaken in 2009 due to the current economic slowdown. The country's gross international reserve is expected to end at around $37 billion to $37.5 billion this year. Moreover, remittances, which account for over 10 % of the domestic economy, will dramatically slow down due to the global financial crisis.

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philippines

Philippine's Exports Contraction Continues

Philippine's exports amounted to $3.49 billion in November, reflecting a 11.9 % drop when compared to $3.965 billion made in the same month of 2007

Philippine's exports amounted to $3.49 billion in November, reflecting a 11.9 % drop when compared to $3.965 billion made in the same month of 2007. In October, exports had contracted by 14.8%. The export contraction is largely due to decreased shipments of electronic products as sales to the U.S. and Japan weakened. Although, the U.S. remained the biggest market, exports receipts in November fell 18.8% compared to the same month in 2007. Japan also showed a 3.8% decrease in Philippine imported goods in November, compared to the same month, two years ago.

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philippines

Philippine's Budget Deficit Widens

Philippines budget deficit widened in the first 10 months of the year, reaching P62.3 billion.

Philippines budget deficit widened in the first 10 months of the year, reaching P62.3 billion. The government stated that the wider deficit was a result of lower tax collections during the period. The country aims to improve revenue collection next year and has programmed a P40 billion budget deficit.

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philippines

ADB to Extend Two-Year Aid Amid Crisis

The Asian Development Bank has announced its plan to provide Philippines with a billion dollar loan assistance to be invested on infrastructure, environment and financial sector projects during the next two years.

The Asian Development Bank has announced its plan to provide Philippines with a billion dollar loan assistance to be invested on infrastructure, environment and financial sector projects during the next two years.

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philippines

Petron Opens Asia’s First Fuel Blending Plant in the Philippines

PETRON Corp. inaugurated the first fuel blending plant in the Asian-Pacific region today.

PETRON Corp. inaugurated the first fuel blending plant in the Asian-Pacific region today. The plant, located in the Philippines, is expected to blend 12,000 metric tons of fuel additives per year. When blended with gasoline or diesel, these additives improve efficiency, performance, and reduce harmful emissions.

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philippines

Philippines' Second Largest Bank Reports Loss From Lehman Collapse

Banco de Oro, Philippines' second largest bank, has reported a 1.3 billion-peso (26.3 million-dollar) loss in the last three months to September.

Banco de Oro, Philippines' second largest bank, has reported a $26.3 million loss in the three months to September. The loss was a result of its exposure to Lehman Brothers, a collapsed investment bank. Although it suffered great losses, Banco de Oro's core business reportedly remained on track and presented continuing growth.

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philippines

August Imports Growth Falters on Weak Electronics

The Philippines' merchandise imports grew 1.1% in August as compared to one year ago.

The Philippines' merchandise imports grew 1.1% in August as compared to one year ago. While purchases of rice increased, purchases of electronics fell sharply. Imports of mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials all increased during the period.

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philippines

Bank Lending Still Rising Ahead of Crisis

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, loans extended by commercial banks rose in August.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, loans extended by commercial banks rose in August. Loans outstanding reached P2.039 trillion in August, up from P2.021 trillion in July.

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philippines

Philippines Lowers Economic Growth Targets Further Due to Crisis

In light of the economic crisis in the United States, the Philippines' GDP is now expected to grow between 4.4 to 4.9% in 2008.

In light of the economic crisis in the United States, the Philippines' GDP is now expected to grow between 4.4 to 4.9% in 2008. At the beginning of this year, the country aimed to grow from 5.7 to 6.6%, but reduced its goal to 5.5 to 6.4% last month.

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philippines

Bangko Sentral Rules Out Near-Term Insolvency for the Philippines

According to the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines is not in danger of suffering a solvency crisis.

According to the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines is not in danger of suffering a solvency crisis. The crisis in the United States should have very little effect on the Philippines because the Philippines has ample dollar reserves. Reserves fell from $36.9 billion at the end of July to $36.74 at the end of August.

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philippines

Trade Deficit in The Philippines Soars 200%

In the first seven months of 2008, the trade deficit in the Philippines soared over 200% year-on-year.

In the first seven months of 2008, the trade deficit in the Philippines soared over 200% year-on-year. The main reason for the drastic increase was costlier fuel and lubricants which accounted for a third of the country's total imports. In fact, imports of petroleum products increased by over 71%.

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philippines

Bangko Sentral Cuts Losses at End-July

According to a report, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas's (BSP) losses shrank to the single digits by the end of July.

According to a report, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas's (BSP) losses shrank to the single digits by the end of July. From January to July, the BSP suffered a net loss of P6.71 billion. Due to higher interest income, the BSP increased its revenues to P50.6 billion by the end of July, up from P44.6 from the same period last year.

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philippines

Tax, Savings Laws to Cost the Philippines' Government

The government stands to lose billions of pesos from a tax and savings law.

The government stands to lose billions of pesos from a tax and savings law. A tax-exemption law could cause the government to lose as much as P15 billion next year. In addition, the government could lose P11 billion a year from the Personal Equity Retirement Account. This law allows Filipinos to save money that will provide liquidity for domestic financial markets.

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philippines

Bangko Sentral Projects Return to Profitability by Yearend

By the end of 2008, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)expects to continue to increase revenues.

By the end of 2008, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)expects to increase revenues. In the first half of this year, the BSP had a net loss of P7.59 billion, much lower than the loss of P31.73 billion during the same period last year. Expenses in June, though, increased to P39.60 billion as compared to only P28.45 billion last year. The BSP expects to improve its financial position because the central bank is not facing the heavy inflows of foreign exchange that it experienced last year.

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philippines

Philippines ATM deployer’s business "doubling"

FROM JUST five in December 2007, the number of automated teller machines (ATMs) that Electronic Network Cash Tellers, Inc. (ENCASH) has deployed has ballooned to 73.

"Business is doubling," said Eric J. Severino, ENCASH president, in a briefing yesterday. More machines meant more customers, more transactions, and more revenues. ENCASH charges a "convenience fee" of P25 per transaction. While ENCASH's wireless ATMs may be less reliable than the wired kind, the convenience they present to rural folks means they will continue to be in wide use. However, rural banks, which operate by a five-day workweek and wish to save on costs, need more convincing about opening the ATMs on weekends.

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philippines

Philippines Government incurs P33.4-B budget gap in first 7 months

The Philippines National Government reported a budget deficit of P33.4 billion in the first seven months, partly because of higher spending for the month of July.

Partially due to higher spending in the month of July,the Philippines government has incurred a budget deficit of P33.4 billion in the first seven months. Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves, said they are keeping the program of a full year budget deficit of P75 billion, or one percent of gross domestic product. "We are committed to spend an additional P75 billion for the year and we will find a way to improve the absorptive capacity (of the government)," the DoF chief said.

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philippines

Philippines SSS releases P33.4-B benefits to members in first 6 months

The Philippines Social Security System has released a total of P33.41 billion for member's benefit this year which is 16% more than the P28.8 billion released last year.

The Philippines Social Security System has released a total of P33.41 billion for member's benefit this year which is 16% more than the P28.8 billion released last year. The institution, which would be celebrating its 51st anniversary on September 1, disbursed 7 percent more for funeral benefits amounting to P1.14 billion this year from P1.07 billion in 2007. SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Romulo Neri urges members to qualify for the organization's benefits by paying contributions regularly, stating that "Members who pay more contributions are entitled to higher SSS benefits."

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philippines

BSP Trims Net Losses on Higher Income

During the first half of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported a net loss of P7.59 billion.

During the first half of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported a net loss of P7.59 billion. The loss is significantly less than last year's P31.73 billion loss. The BSP said lower net loss was due to higher interest income.

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philippines

Reduction of Bonded Warehouses in Philippines Supported

The Department of Finance's plan to limit the number of bonded warehouses was supported by the Bureau of Customs.

The Department of Finance's plan to limit the number of bonded warehouses was supported by the Bureau of Customs. The plan aims to avoid tax leakages and improve the monitoring of imported goods. The Customs Bonded Warehouse confederation Inc. and Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Customs Bonded Warehouse Operators are not in favor of the plan. If the plan succeeds, only government-owned Philippine International Trading Corp. and the Philippine Exporters Confederation will be allowed to have warehouses.

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philippines

Philippine Tourism Posts 7% Growth in Tourist Arrivals

The Philippines tourism industry continues to attract Tourists, 6. 9 percent went up from January to June 2008 while February posted the highest increase at 11. 7 percent.

The Philippines tourism industry continues to attract more Tourists, 6. 9 percent went up from January to June 2008 while February posted the highest increase at 11. 7 percent. China remains to be a fast growing market with 20percent rise, Taiwan made a remarkable turn around with 12. 5 percent, Hong Kong showed high improvement with a growth of 5. 2 percent. For European Visitors, France increased by 29. 2 percent and remain to be the top spending visitors. Their total spending grew by 157% with US$ 20.28 million.

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philippines

RP Bad Loan Ratio in the Philippines Still Highest in Asia

Bangko Sentral ng Philpinas (BSP) reported that the local banking system had a non-performing loan ratio of 5% at the end of march.

Bangko Sentral ng Philpinas reported that the local banking system had a non-performing loan ratio of 5% at the end of march. This bad loan ratio is the highest among all the Asian countries that took a hit from the crisis of the late 1990's. Indonesia ranked second behind the Philippines with a ratio of 4.4%.

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philippines

Number of Poor Families Rising in Philippines

According to a Social Weather Stations survey, 60% of Filipino families rated themselves as poor.

According to a Social Weather Stations survey, 60% of Filipino families rated themselves as poor. About 24% of the 10.6 million families who rated themselves as poor considered themselves at the borderline. The self-rated poverty level increased the most in the Visayas.

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philippines

Finance Rejects VAT Tweak Proposal in the Philippines

The Finance department rejected a proposal to change the value-added tax (VAT) which would have shifted the VAT on oil to a flat rate per unit of quantity rather than price.

The Finance department rejected a proposal to change the value-added tax (VAT) which would have shifted the VAT on oil to a flat rate per unit of quantity rather than price. Ma. Teresa S. Habitan, director of the Finance department's fiscal and policy planning office, emphasized that the VAT is not responsible for the surge in fuel price. The Finance department rejected the proposal because of its concern for revenue neutrality and sustainability of the tax system.

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philippines

Philippine Debt Levels Safe in Two Years

According to the Department of Finance, the Philippines' debt to GDP ratio is expected to drop below 50% in the next two years.

According to the Department of Finance, the Philippines' debt to GDP ratio is expected to drop below 50% in the next two years. This ratio is a good indicator of fiscal health. In 2007, the ratio fell from 63.8% to 55.8%, and it is expected to drop to 52.4% by the end of this year.

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philippines

Philippine Government Sells P9 Billion of Retail Treasury Bonds

The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury awarded P9.124 billion in retail Treasury bonds (RTBs) at an auction on Thursday.

The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury awarded P9.124 billion in retail Treasury bonds (RTBs) at an auction on Thursday. RTBs are designed for individuals or small investors, since the paper is sold for as low as P5,000. At the auction, the three-year paper fetched a coupon rate of 8.5% while the five-year paper fetched a rate of 9%.

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philippines

BoP $248M Deficit in June, Biggest in 4 Yrs, Says BSP

The Bangko Sentral ng Philipinas (BSP)reported that the balance of payments (BoP) showed a deficit of $248 million in June.

The Bangko Sentral ng Philipinas (BSP)reported that the balance of payments (BoP) showed a deficit of $248 million in June. The country's BoP position in the first six months of the year is still at a surplus of $1.93 billion. Last year, however, the surplus was at $3.2 billion.

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philippines

Philippines Crucial to ASEAN Change

The decision of the Philippines' Senate is crucial to the future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Philippines, along with Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar, have yet to ratify the charter signed by ASEAN leaders just last year. The document must endure the Philippines' "participatory process" in which there must be a concurrence by two-thirds of the Senate. Since the Philippines is one of the original five ASEAN members, its decision to ratify the 52-page charter is crucial for whether the organization can move further with a strong legal framework.

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philippines

Hundreds Missing After Philippines Typhoon; Divers Find Only Bodies in Overturned Ferry

Divers found only bodies in the ferry overturned by the typhoon that struck the Philippines three days ago.

Three days after a typhoon in the Philippines, divers found only bodies in a capsized vessel with more than 800 people aboard. Many of the bodies were found floating inside and trapped. Though no live bodies have been found yet by the divers, it is too hard to officially say there are no survivors on board due to the ship's dark interior. However, it is less likely that survivors will be found in the ferry because of the length of time passed since the ship overturned.

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philippines

Farm Authorities Expect Rice Prices to Drop Soon

Assurance of lower rice prices in the future came from Agriculture Secretary, Arthur C. Yap, just yesterday despite some skepticism from local retailers.

Rice prices will go down nationwide in the months to come, assured Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap just yesterday. The strategy to lower rice prices is to flood the market with state-subsidized rice as harvest time inches closer, and results of this are starting to show in markets in Central Mindanao, says the National Food Authority (NFA). In applying this strategy, the distribution to where cheaper rice goes will need to be closely monitored to ensure the public has enough rice supply. Despite all the optimism from authorities, retailers in the city's public markets remain skeptic about seeing lower rice prices in the near future unless the new palay harvest comes by August, in which case retailers are more convinced of lower prices.

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philippines

Economy Can Take More Rate Hikes, BSP Chief Says

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas believes the economy is strong enough to withhold further increases in the interest rate.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas stated yesterday that it believes the economy is strong enough to endure further increases in the interest rate. These increases would primarily be driven by the need to fight inflation. Such a statement by the BSP reflects a definite possibility of a quarter-point increase next month. Critics worry that further increases might cause second-round effects that need to be addressed before rate hikes.

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philippines

Government Planning Petron Sale

If approvals are gained from the President and the Philippine National Oil Co. board next month, the government hopes to sell its 40% stake in Petron Corp. by the end of the year.

The government is hoping to gain approvals from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Philippine National Oil Co. board next month so it can sell its 40% stake in Petron Corp. If approvals are gained, the government hopes to sell by the end of the year, as well as receive an equal or better price as a similar transaction between Saudi Aramco and Ashmore Group, an investment fund that also made a recent offer for the 40% Petron stake. Auctioning and public bidding are also possibilities for the government if they choose to turn down the Ashmore offer.

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philippines

BSP Seeks IMF Help in Inflation Battle

The BSP has sought help from the IMF for policy guidance in targeting the rising inflation rate.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has sought aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for guidance in policies that will address the rising inflation rate. Help from the IMF is needed because of the complexity of the issues surrounding the crafting of monetary policy decisions targeting high inflation. The continued rise in inflation is triggered by the rise of prices of oil and food.

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philippines

Exxon Mobil Will Explore In Philippines

Exxon Mobil will invest at least USD100 million in offshore oil exploration near the Philippines.

Exxon Mobil will invest at least USD100 million in offshore oil exploration near the Philippines. Exxon plans to start drilling seismic data next year.

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philippines

Indonesia, Philippines Raise Rates to Fight Inflation

Indonesia and the Philippines raised interest rates in response to the growing inflation brought on by rising food and energy prices.

Indonesia and the Philippines raised interest rates in response to the growing inflation brought on by rising food and energy prices. The Bank of Indonesia raised rates to 8.5, from 8.25, while the Bangko Sentral ng Philipinas raised its rate to 5.25, from 5, which was the first increase in over two years. These moves came a month after Vietnam and Pakistan raised their rates. Many analysts believe India and Malaysia will raise rates today. Eleven of 13 Asian nations still have borrowing costs below the rate of inflation.

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philippines

Philippine's Anti-money Laundering Campaign Nets Billion-Peso Suspicious Deposits

Philippine government's anti-money laundering campaign has come to more than a billion pesos from suspicious transactions.

Philippine government's anti-money laundering campaign has come to more than a billion pesos from suspicious transactions. So far, only one person, Eric Allagadan, a former branch manager of Union Bank of the Philippines, has been convicted for money laundering.

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philippines

Philippines Gov’t Cuts Growth Goal, Sees Deficit

Under the influence of a global economic slowdown, Philippines government announced to reduce its 2008 growth target to 5.7-6.5 on May 28, 2008.

Under the influence of a global economic slowdown, Philippines government announced to reduce its 2008 growth target to 5.7-6.5 on May 28, 2008. This year's import growth target is changed to 6% while export target is 7%. The government will also consider adjust some other macroeconomic assumptions.

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philippines

Seven-Year Interest Rate Rises as Investors Seek Higher Returns

Just after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) predicted an even higher inflation for the third quarter of 2008, investors demanded higher rates for government IOUs maturing in seven years.

Just after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) predicted an even higher inflation for the third quarter of 2008, investors demanded higher rates for government IOUs maturing in seven years. The BSP forecasted a 6.4 percent to 7 percent prices increase, prices increases speed up to a three-year high of 8.3 percent on April.

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philippines

Truckers Ask for Fuel Subsidy

Truckers in the Philippines aspire to be included on the government's oil subsidy program; they will push for a P2 diesel subsidy.

Truckers in the Philippines aspire to be included on the government's oil subsidy program; they will push for a P2 diesel subsidy. At the moment, there is subsidy for public transportation, such as jeepneys and buses.

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philippines

Eyes on More Borrowings Abroad

The Department of Finance of the Philippines said that since there is a constant rise of interest rates in the domestic market, the country might have to raise funds overseas.

The Department of Finance of the Philippines said that since there is a constant rise of interest rates in the domestic market, the country might have to raise funds overseas. The government could change its borrowing ratio form 75:25 percent to 65:35 percent.

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philippines

Mismatch Keeps Jobless Rate Up

A lack of qualified applicants in the thousands of Filipino graduates each year is a cause for concern for many firms in the Philippines.

A lack of qualified applicants in the thousands of Filipino graduates each year is a cause for concern for many firms in the Philippines. Other issues include high turnover and the pirating of workers. All these show that firms are having trouble finding and holding on to the best workers in the Philippines.

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philippines

High Inflation Seen to Tame GDP Growth

In compliance with a bank economist, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Philippines could drop 6 to 7 percent in the first quarter of the year due to high inflation.

In compliance with a bank economist, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Philippines could drop 6 to 7 percent in the first quarter of the year due to high inflation. Nonetheless, Frederic Neumann, an economist form the Shanghai Banking Corp. disagrees. He believes that the Philippines economy is growing at a healthy pace.

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philippines

Gov’t Slashes 2008 Growth Goal To 6.1%

Due to a global slowdown in the economy and rising prices, the government of the Philippines has lowered its growth target from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent.

Due to a global slowdown in the economy and rising prices, the government of the Philippines has lowered its growth target from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent. This is for both export and import activities. It is also likely to change the inflation target for the year to higher than what it is now.

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philippines

Businesses Asked to do more for Workers amid Food Crisis

The Philippines President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, urged successful companies in the oil and telecommunication sector to give non-wage benefits to its employers such as rice and canned goods.

The Philippines President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, urged successful companies in the oil and telecommunication sector to give non-wage benefits to its employers such as rice and canned goods. The population of the Philippines is price sensitive, the poorest people are now deeply affected by the increases on rice and fuel prices.

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philippines

BoP Surplus Hits $1.7 Billion in Q1

Overseas workers remittances continue to be a great source of foreign exchange inflows for the economy of the Philippines, for the first quarter the Philippines owns a balance of payment (BoP) surplus of USD1.7 billion.

Overseas workers remittances continue to be a great source of foreign exchange inflows for the economy of the Philippines, for the first quarter the Philippines owns a balance of payment (BoP) surplus of USD1.7 billion. This surplus is also a result of merchandise exports, more foreign direct investment (FDI) and investment income by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

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philippines

Revenue Hike Needed to Fund Safety Nets

Philippine Equity Partners, Inc. brought up to date the need for safety nets aimed to rising prices of basic commodities.

Philippine Equity Partners, Inc. brought up to date the need for safety nets aimed to rising prices of basic commodities. Inflation has risen beyond the central Bank's target range of 3%-5% to 6.4%. Furthermore, the government is planning to import 44% additional rice with the intention of controlling local rice prices.

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philippines

Peso Projected to Hit P38.50 to the Dollar by End of this Year

There are prospects that the peso might further appreciate at the end of the year, to the point of PHP38.50 to respect with USD.

There are prospects that the peso might further appreciate at the end of the year, to the point of PHP38.50 to respect with USD. The peso has been averaging PHP41.25, nonetheless the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company believes that the peso can regain strength this quarter. In addition, analysts expect that overseas Filipino worker (OFW) remittances will strength the peso.

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philippines

Rice Import Target Raised Further

The National Food Authority of the Philippines allowed an extra import of 300 000 MT in order to fulfill their needed estimation of 2.2 MMT.

The National Food Authority of the Philippines allowed an extra import of 300 000 MT in order to fulfill their needed estimation of 2.2 MMT. This attempt by the NFA is an effort to stabilize rice prices and to boost supply in the domestic market.

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philippines

PHP1.3 Billion Unilever Deodorant Plant Up

Next month the Philippines will open a plant in Paco, Manila worth PHP 1.3 billion; it will be the heart of global deodorant production.

Next month the Philippines will open a plant in Paco, Manila worth PHP 1.3 billion; it will be the heart of global deodorant production. Unilever exported PHP billion in deodorant sticks to 50 countries last year; the company is expecting a double-digit growth of 10 percent this year since it will be a supplier of all deodorants' formats.

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philippines

Foreign Direct Investments to Nearly Double

The Central Bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, expects foreign investment to reach USD 4.2 billion this year.

The Central Bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, expects foreign investment to reach USD 4.2 billion this year. Most of the investment and growth is expected from the mining sector with a projected inflow of USD 1.4 billion.

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philippines

Growth Fails to Generate Jobs

The unemployment rate has surpassed 7 percent in January despite record breaking growth of 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

The unemployment rate has surpassed 7 percent in January despite record breaking growth of 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Net job creation, which stood at 150,000 from January 2006-January 2007, was well below the 1.4-1.6 million yearly target in the Medium Term Development Plan.

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philippines

Remittances up In January

More efficient money transfer systems and an increase in the number of overseas Filipinos have given way for increased remittances during January, a growth of 15 percent year on year.

More efficient money transfer systems and an increase in the number of overseas Filipinos have given way for increased remittances during January, a growth of 15 percent year on year. At the same time, the number of overseas workers grew 12.4 percent year on year paving the way for more money to be sent home.

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philippines

Government Debt Falls in Dec ‘07

The Philippine government's outstanding debt fell 1.0 percent in December 2007 from November.

The Philippine government's outstanding debt fell 1.0 percent in December 2007 from November. December's debt is also 3.63 percent lower than the debt that was registered last December. Total year-end debt was PHP 3.712 trillion down from PHP 3.852 trillion.

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philippines

Exports Growth Slows in January: US slump cited

Exports only grew slowly by 6.4 percent in January compared to December's growth of 21.4 percent.

Exports only grew slowly by 6.4 percent in January compared to December's growth of 21.4 percent. Easing demand of electronics products, which account for 61.5 percent of total export earnings, were blamed for most of the dismal export growth.

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philippines

Thailand and Philippines Considered Most Corrupt Asian Economies according to Survey

According to the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China are among the most corrupt Asian economies.

According to the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China are among the most corrupt Asian economies. Singapore and Hong Kong retained their standing as the cleanest economies in Asia. The survey only covers 13 countries and does not include countries notorious for corruption such as Bangladesh and Myanmar. The poll consisted of nearly 1,400 expatriate businessmen and was conducted in January and February of this year.

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philippines

Philippines Government to Spend 60 Percent of Budget in First Quarter

The Philippines government announced that they intend to frontload spending in the first quarter of 2008 in an attempt to weather the impact of the current economic slowdown in the United States.

The Philippines government announced that they intend to frontload spending in the first quarter of 2008 in an attempt to weather the impact of the current economic slowdown in the United States. Nearly 60% of the allotted budget will be spent on infrastructure improvements. This decision marks a 22 percent increase in spending on infrastructure since 2007. In addition to infrastructure improvements, the government will focus on social services as well.

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philippines

BSP Chief Dims Rate Cut Hopes

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) hinted yesterday that interest rates will stay at current levels.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) hinted yesterday that interest rates will stay at current levels. Excess liquidity from remittances and heavy foreign investor inflows have caused BSP to reevaluate its monetary policy to deal with possible second quarter inflation. Annual inflation has been steadily on the rise since October to 4.9 percent this month due to rising commodity costs.

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philippines

Exporters told to focus on High-End Niches to Survive

The Foreign Buyer's Association of the Philippines, a coalition of foreign buyers who provide feedback on the export market, said yesterday that Filipino exporters are likely to avoid the risks of a US recession.

The Foreign Buyer's Association of the Philippines, a coalition of foreign buyers who provide feedback on the export market, said yesterday that Filipino exporters are likely to avoid the risks of a US recession. The comment was more directed toward medium to high end exporters who cater to specialty markets. Distinguishing their products from China, India, and Vietnam, the Filipino exporters can find a better niche in the global market.

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philippines

Coconut Oil Exports Down 19 percent in 2007

Although December 2007 saw an 8 percent increase in coconut oil exports, the Philippines exported 867,789 tons this year compared to 1.07 million tons in 2006.

Although December 2007 saw an 8 percent increase in coconut oil exports, the Philippines exported 867,789 tons this year compared to 1.07 million tons in 2006. Most of the exports usually go to Europe and the United States.

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philippines

Growth in 2007 Fastest in 31 years at 7.3 percent

Full year 2007 growth was 7.3 percent due to a fourth quarter seasonally adjusted surge of 1.8 percent.

Full year 2007 growth was 7.3 percent due to a fourth quarter seasonally adjusted surge of 1.8 percent. Strong growth in the service sector output underpinned economic growth with an 8.7 percent increase in output for 2007, the highest in 50 years.

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philippines

Sustainable Mining in the Philippines

Xstrata Copper, the fourth largest copper producer in the world, acquired 62.5 percent of Sagittarius Mines Inc. in March 2007

Xstrata Copper, the fourth largest copper producer in the world, acquired 62.5 percent of Sagittarius Mines Inc. in March 2007. They were required to come up with a financially and strategically sound Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plan. Mining is one of the industries in the Philippines where CSR is mandatory. This is what is called "sustainable mining", it is defined as the development of minerals and resources that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, sustainable mining has been said to mark a paradigm shift in the industry.

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philippines

Manila to offer $500 mln bond after outlook upgrade

The Philippines offered $500 million in sovereign bonds on Tuesday by reopening its existing 2032 bonds to take advantage of a recent outlook upgrade from Moody's.

The Philippines offered $500 million in sovereign bonds on Tuesday by reopening its existing 2032 bonds to take advantage of a recent outlook upgrade from Moody's. The Philippines set a final price guidance of 97.875 +/- 0.125 cents to a dollar for the issue, a source close to the deal said. Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank are handling the sale. The offer would raise the total size of the 2032 sovereign bonds to $1.5 billion, the government said.

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philippines

Philippines Expects Rising Oil Costs Will Cause Manufacturing and Mining to Suffer

According to the Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the prospect of USD 100 per barrel of oil is expected to have wide spread adverse effects on the manufacturing and mining sectors.

According to the Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the prospect of USD 100 per barrel of oil is expected to have wide spread adverse effects on the manufacturing and mining sectors. It is expected that the USD 100 barrel of oil will slow down the domestic economy by .72 percent. The government along with the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, United Nations Development Programme, United States Agency for International Development and World Bank will convene for an energy summit to tackle the risks arising from skyrocketing crude prices worldwide.

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philippines

Moody’s Upgrades RP Credit Rating Outlook

Philippines credit rating has been upgraded to positive from stable.

Philippines credit rating has been upgraded to positive from stable. Moody's pointed to improvements in public sector finances and reduced reliance on foreign funding.

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philippines

Trade Between Philippines, Chinese Mainland Hits Record High in 2007

The trade volume between the Philippines and the Chinese mainland last year surged to a record high of 30.62 billion U.S. dollars

The trade volume between the Philippines and the Chinese mainland last year surged to a record high of 30.62 billion U.S. dollars. The 2007 trade volume surpassed the 30 billion-dollar goal for 2010 that was set in 2005 when Chinese President Hu Jingtao visited the Philippines, he said, adding that the average annual increase over the past seven years in bilateral trade between the two countries is at a high of at least 35 percent. Since the start of the 21st century, the vigorous growth trend between the two countries is very prominent. The Chinese is now the third biggest trading partner of the Philippines, and China as a whole, the biggest if Philippine trade with Hong Kong and Taiwan are included.

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philippines

BPOs to Benefit From US Woes

The Philippine business processing out-sourcing (BPO) industry is poised to benefit form the US economic slowdown.

The Philippine business processing out-sourcing (BPO) industry is poised to benefit form the US economic slowdown. The Philippines this year will enjoy an investment surge on the back of the US' economic difficulties. The industry executive said that smaller US-based players may close down but the Philippines can attract bigger companies through aggressive promotions abroad and its tested outstanding performance. Last year the local industry gained about $5 billion, and it is projected to earn $7-$13 billion by 2010.

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philippines

Sweden Leaves Laos

Sweden has decided to close their embassy in Laos on Aug 15, 2008.

Sweden has decided to close their embassy in Laos on Aug 15, 2008. The Swedish Charge d'Affairs, AnnLis Aberg, cited the slow progress of political reforms as one one factor leading to the decision. Sweden is also closing embassies in Vietnam and the Philippines and the moves also reflect a larger movement towards focusing development in Africa instead of Asia.

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philippines

Growth Boost from Farm Sector

Farm output grew by 4.68 percent in 2007 and put the overall economy on track to grow over 7 percent in 2008.

Farm output grew by 4.68 percent in 2007 and put the overall economy on track to grow over 7 percent in 2008. Although La Nina is set to affect the Philippines, the government still holds that it can sustain the same amount of growth as last year. Most of the farm sector last year was helped by rice, which normally accounts for a fifth of overall agricultural output.

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philippines

Oil Tariff Rate Cut

Almost finalizing world oil price levels for the Philippines, the Finance Department has reduced oil tariffs from 3 percent to 1 percent.

Almost finalizing world oil price levels for the Philippines, the Finance Department has reduced oil tariffs from 3 percent to 1 percent. The change will effectively be implemented February 2008. The Energy Department expects this change to directly affect consumers at the pump with a retail price drop on diesel fuel of PHP 1 per liter. However, the private sector explained that the market forces would determine how the cuts would affect consumers.

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philippines

Philippines Debt remains a Major Concern for Rating Agency

Regardless of the downturn in debt levels in the Philippines, the country's outstanding financial obligations remain a major concern for Moody's, one of the three major credit rating firms.

Regardless of the downturn in debt levels in the Philippines, the country's outstanding financial obligations remain a major concern for Moody's, one of the three major credit rating firms. Moody's, which rates the credit worthiness of countries and companies, said the Philippines' public finances are still very vulnerable to external shocks. The Moody's outlook had changed from "negative" to "stable" in recent months but with the upgrade, Moody's is likely to keep its current rating of below-investment grade on the country in the succeeding six months to a year.

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philippines

Philippines Central Bank’s Gold and Currency Reserve Dip for First Time in 2 Years

The central bank's gold and currency reserve fell to USD 32.46 billion in November, as the government settled maturing debts.

The central bank's gold and currency reserve fell to USD 32.46 billion in November, as the government settled maturing debts. The decline was attributed to outflows arising from Bangko Sentral's net foreign exchange operations and payments of maturing obligations of the National Government. The Gross Natural Reserve (GIR) is comprised of the central bank's holdings of gold, special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund, foreign investment and foreign exchange.

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philippines

World Bank Blocks USD 232 Million Loan to the Philippines

The World Bank rejected USD 232 million in loans to the Philippines for road projects due to corruption charges that involved a Chinese contractor.

The World Bank rejected USD 232 million in loans to the Philippines for road projects due to corruption charges that involved a Chinese contractor. The loan will overshadow President Arroyo's participation in the Southeast Asian Nations summit. The World Bank has alleged that the contractor, China State Construction Engineering Co., was involved with rigging bids. The project was described as costing a total of USD 573.52 million, with the Philippines needing to shoulder USD 333.52 million. The World Bank was to provide USD 232 million while the Australian Agency for International Development would give USD 8 million.

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philippines

Philippines Drops Seven Spots on United Nations Development Index

In the recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Survey (Unctad), the Philippines have fallen from the 56th to the 63rd spot out of 122 countries.

In the recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Survey (Unctad), the Philippines have fallen from the 56th to the 63rd spot out of 122 countries. The survey is an examination of global trade and development performance which effect trade. The indicators that are reviewed include human capital, physical infrastructure, domestic finance, economic structure, and macro-economic stability. Other Asian countries were ahead with Korea at 21st; Malaysia, 27th; Thailand, 29th; and Vietnam, 44th. Indonesia however trailed behind the Philippines at 66th. The survey's main purpose is to help governments decide how to better integrate into the global economy, create jobs and promote general well-being.

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philippines

Philippines Trade Logistics Competitiveness Lags Behind Neighbors

According to a new World Bank study, the Philippines are ranked at the 65th spot among 150 countries surveyed for their ability to connect with the world market to ship goods.

According to a new World Bank study, the Philippines are ranked at the 65th spot among 150 countries surveyed for their ability to connect with the world market to ship goods. The report, "Connecting to Compete: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy," cites the country's costly export and import charges. The report says that in the Philippines the typical charge for a 40-foot export container cost approximately USD 721 and takes 6.3 days to process, while the import costs USD 794 and takes 5.3 days. In comparison, exporting a 40-foot container costs a far lower USD 144 from Vietnam, USD 266 from Indonesia, USD 422 from Thailand, and USD 630 from South Korea.

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philippines

Philippine Airlines is Named “Airline Turnaround of the Year”

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is named "Airline Turnaround of the Year" by the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation, a Sydney based think-tank.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is named "Airline Turnaround of the Year" by the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation, a Sydney based think-tank. The company was awarded the honor due to its ability to rapidly exit its rehabilitation program and its improved financial success. PAL earned a profit of USD 34.5 billion from April to June and has a projected income for next year of USD 32.32 million.

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philippines

Philippines Local Debt Market Has Positive Indicators

According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the local Philippine debt market has drastically improved while being driven by strong macroeconomic fundamentals and a raised amount of liquidity in the system.

According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the local Philippine debt market has drastically improved while being driven by strong macroeconomic fundamentals and a raised amount of liquidity in the system. These advances will allow for the introduction of new products such as securities borrowing and lending and repurchase agreements. The BSP points to the investor's ability to transact business with greater efficiency, transparency as reasons for the improvement of the market

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philippines

Philippines Factory Output Continues to Slide

Factory output continued to slide after recovering from an 18 month slide last month.

The Singapore National Statistics Office (NSO) reported a slide in the manufacturing of textiles, tobacco, electrical machinery and wearing apparel. The NSO reports that only 10.8 percent of the 100 manufacturing firms surveyed operated at full capacity. Average capacity utilization of these factories stood at 80.4 percent. Production value also retreated by 3.6 percent last August, after registering a year-on-year growth of 2.1 percent the previous month.

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philippines

Bank of Philippine Islands to Expand Credit Card Business

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) plans to expand its share of the local credit card business next year.

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is attempting to become a major player in local credit card industry. BPI is reaching to expand to 1 million credit card holders from its current base of 700,000. BPI is providing life insurance products to credit card holders, interest rates of up to 2.75 percent a month, and is the only bank using embedded information in the Smart chip of the card that monitors the use of the card for reward points and discounts.

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philippines

Philippines May Need to Revise Projected Growth

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of the Philippines, a slowdown in exports might result in a lower growth rate then the dream growth rate of 11 percent.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of the Philippines, a slowdown in exports might result in a lower growth rate then the dream growth rate of 11 percent. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto B. Santos expects a growth rate of 8 percent if the current trend continues. This slowdown is expected to effect the GDP growth rate negatively, easing it from targeted 6.1-6.7 percent to 5.9-6.5 percent.

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philippines

Goldman Sachs Raises Three Months Forecast

Goldman Sachs Group Inchas revised their three months forecasts for six Asian currencies in the light of expected Central Bank interventions in the respective countries. As inflation and growth accelerate the central banks are expected to try to strengthen their currencies.

Goldman Sachs Group Inchas revised their three months forecasts for six Asian currencies in the light of expected Central Bank interventions in the respective countries. As inflation and growth accelerate the central banks are expected to strengthen their currencies. The currencies under revisions are INR 39.50 per USD, from previous 41.30, MYR 3.33 compared to 3.41, PHP 43.50 from 45.50. Singapore's dollar is expected to gain to SGD 1.45 compared to SGD 1.51, TWD 32.00 from a prior TWD 32.50, THB 32.00 instead of THB 35.00.

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philippines

India's Biggest Pharmaceutical Company Enters Philippine Market

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., India's biggest constituent within the pharmaceutical industry, has entered the Philippine market seeking to close a gap in the supply of affordable medication.

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., India's biggest constituent within the pharmaceutical industry, has entered the Philippine market seeking to close a gap in the supply of affordable medication. Although the pharmaceutical market in the Philippines is dominated by multinational companies and their expensive drugs, the competition from India with branded as well as generic drugs might lead to a decrease in prices for drugs in general.

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philippines

Philippines: BSP Cuts Interest Rate by 25 Basis Points

After a first cut in July, the Philippine's central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has cut the overnight borrowing and lending rates by 25 basis points to 5.75 and 7.75 percent respectively.

After a first cut in July, the Philippine's central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has cut the overnight borrowing and lending rates by 25 basis points to 5.75 and 7.75 percent respectively. This move raises expectations for a rebound of the stock market as well as initiating a downward pull in interest rates, for loans and credit card charges. The monetary board justified their decision with a lower-than-expected appreciation of consumer prices.

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philippines

Philippine Energy Infrastructure Needs Private Investment

In order to support economic growth in the medium and long run, the Philippine government depends on more than PHP 304 million of private funding for projects regarding the country's energy infrastructure. The government itself has established a medium-term development plan worth PHP 580 million in order to upgrade the country's energy infrastructure.

In order to support economic growth in the medium and long run, the Philippine government depends on more than PHP 304 million of private funding for projects regarding the country's energy infrastructure. The government itself has established a medium-term development plan worth PHP 580 million in order to upgrade the country's energy infrastructure.

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philippines

IFC: Philippines less Business Friendly

According to a recently published report from the World Bank's multilateral lender International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Philippines have become less business friendly than a year ago.

According to a recently published report from the World Bank's multilateral lender International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Philippines have become less business friendly than a year ago. The country has lost 3 ranks, dropping from 130 to 133 out of 178 countries. In 2005, the Philippines even ranked at position 121. Analysts particularly blame the slow pace of reforms in the country for the poor performance.

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philippines

Philippines Freezes Two more Contracts with China

After the Philippine Government just recently had suspended two contracts with China on the controversial Broadband Network Deal and the Cyber Education Project, Department of Agriculture's Secretary, Arthur C. Yap, has temporarily suspended

After the Philippine Government just recently had suspended two contracts with China on the controversial Broadband Network Deal and the Cyber Education Project, Department of Agriculture's Secretary, Arthur C. Yap, has temporarily suspended two more agreements. One of the agreements concerns the lease of about 1.4 million hectares land in the Philippines by China to grow crops for local and Chinese consumption. The other agreement concerns lease of Philippine land by China in order to establish an undetermined number of power plants.

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philippines

Philippines' Jollibee to Take Over Second Chinese Chain

Philippines-based Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC) has announced to take over their second Chinese restaurant chain. After having acquired Yonghe King a few years ago, the new chain, Hong-zhuangyuan, is expected by the company to increase market coverage and presence in China.

Philippines-based Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC) has announced to take over their second Chinese restaurant chain. After having acquired Yonghe King a few years ago, the new chain, Hong-zhuangyuan, is expected to increase market coverage and presence in China.

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philippines

Philippines' Central Bank Contemplates Cut in Interest Rates

After the Fed lowered the US interest rates, Philippines' Central Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, might lower their interest rates as well, as, according to the Central Banks' Governor the Fed's move allows to maneuver in the Bank's own rate settings.

After the Fed lowered the US interest rates, Philippines' Central Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, might lower their interest rates as well, as, according to the Central Banks' Governor the Fed's move allows to maneuver in the Bank's own rate settings.

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philippines

Philippines: Ecozone Firms Granted Lower Power Rates

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and National Power Corp. (Napocor) made an agreement to help business in several economic zones cope with high energy costs in hopes that savings will be passed on to customers.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and National Power Corp. (Napocor) made an agreement to help businesses in several economic zones cope with high energy costs in hopes that savings will be passed on to customers. Although the fixed generation rate is composed of four charges, two of which have variable rates, benefits are expected to increase in the coming months.

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philippines

Philippines: More FDIs in Local Companies

Comparing the amount of foreign direct investments in Philippine companies made in the first six months of this year with the same time span of last year, the results show an increase of 16 percent from USD 1.057 billion to USD 1.226 billion.

Comparing the amount of foreign direct investments in Philippine companies made in the first six months of this year with the same time span of last year, the results show an increase of 16 percent from USD 1.057 billion to USD 1.226 billion. The main receiving sectors according to the central bank were electronics, health, chemical manufacturing, international information technology, real estate, construction, financial intermediation, mining, and agriculture.

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philippines

JPEPA Compared to Japanese Trade Agreements With Indonesia and Malaysia

IBON Foundation Inc, and independent research institution, has examined the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and found that it compares poorly to trade agreements Japan has formed with Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan's other trade pacts were used as comparisons because of the similar conditions for the trade deals, but IBON research head Sonny Africa has cited that the other countries were able to retain tariff protections on many more products and investment controls than the Philippines has under the JPEPA.

IBON Foundation Inc, and independent research institution, has examined the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and found that it compares poorly to trade agreements Japan has formed with Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan's other trade pacts were used as comparisons because of the similar conditions for the trade deals, but IBON research head Sonny Africa has cited that the other countries were able to retain tariff protections on many more products and investment controls than the Philippines has under the JPEPA.

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philippines

Philippine Economic Growth Slows

The Philippines economy had slowed down in the second quarter as the demand for exports slowed and nationals who work overseas sent less money home. The economy has only grown 6.5 percent from the previous year, with figures down from 6.9 percent in the first quarter. In addition to exports, the government relies heavily upon remittances as they make up one-tenth of the economy.

The Philippines economy had slowed down in the second quarter as the demand for exports slowed and nationals who work overseas sent less money home. The economy has only grown 6.5 percent from the previous year, with figures down from 6.9 percent in the first quarter. In addition to exports, the government relies heavily upon remittances as they make up one-tenth of the economy.

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philippines

Philippines Imports Medicine from Bangladesh

The Philippines, whose pharmaceutical market is mostly dependent upon imported medicines, has begun importing medicine from Bangladesh's Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The country is the fifth member or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to import Beximco's drugs.

The Philippines, whose pharmaceutical market is mostly dependent upon imported medicines, has begun importing medicine from Bangladesh's Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The country is the fifth member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to import Beximco's drugs.

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philippines

ASEAN, Japan Now Keen on Free Trade Area by November

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area.

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area. As part of Asean's annual summit of dialogue between trade ministers, Japan's Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari held meetings over the weekend in Manila with his Asean counterparts. Currently, Japan is Asean's largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with direct spending rising 50 percent last year to USD 10.8 billion. According to Asean data, Asean-Japan trade totaled USD 154 billion in 2005, which accounted for 13 percent of the groups total exports and imports. Asean members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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philippines

Japan-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Reached

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

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philippines

Philippines Maintains Tariff Reduction

The Philippines has submitted its documentation for the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) schedule in compliance with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement. The current documentation defines a zero tariff on auto parts and components, and is part of a tariff reduction schedule to integrate trade sectors for intra-ASEAN trade including electronics, garments, and automotive components.

The Philippines has submitted its documentation for the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) schedule in compliance with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement. The current documentation defines a zero tariff on auto parts and components, and is part of a tariff reduction schedule to integrate trade sectors for intra-ASEAN trade including electronics, garments, and automotive components.

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philippines

Philippines: Raising Quality Issue of Chinese Products

The Philippines will informally raise the question of how to proceed in regards to the issue of the quality of Chinese foods and other products. The Bureau of Food and Drugs has reported that a Chinese brand of candy has been tainted with formaldehyde. In a meeting with other member countries of ASEAN (Association of South Eastern Asian Nations), Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila will express the Philippines' concerns to his fellow economic ministers and will discuss how to proceed in these matters.

The Philippines will informally raise the question of how to proceed in regards to the issue of the quality of Chinese foods and other products. The Bureau of Food and Drugs has reported that a Chinese brand of candy has been tainted with formaldehyde. In a meeting with other member countries of ASEAN (Association of South Eastern Asian Nations), Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila will express the Philippines' concerns to his fellow economic ministers and will discuss how to proceed in these matters.

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philippines

Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement Beneficial and Constitutional

Amidst concerns that the economic partnership agreement would result in the Philippines' importing of Japan's toxic wastes, the Department of Justice in the Philippines has ruled that the deal with Japan is not only constitutional, but economically beneficial. Japan, as a member of the Basel Convention, is obligated not to allow exports of hazardous wastes. The agreement presents an opportunity for improved economic relations with Japan, and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez adds that it may later be discarded if conditions lead the treaty to become detrimental to national interests.

Amidst concerns that the economic partnership agreement would result in the Philippines' importing of Japan's toxic wastes, the Department of Justice in the Philippines has ruled that the deal with Japan is not only constitutional, but economically beneficial. Japan, as a member of the Basel Convention, is obligated not to allow exports of hazardous wastes. The agreement presents an opportunity for improved economic relations with Japan, and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez adds that it may later be discarded if conditions lead the treaty to become detrimental to national interests.

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philippines

Philippines' Senate Urged to Ratify Trade Deal

The Philippines government is urging the country's senate to help boost local exports through the ratification of a USD 4 billion trade deal with Japan. Since the deal was struck last year, Japan has pledged to employ 1,000 Philippine nurses, and Japan has since shown interest in investing in several of the Philippines' industries, including food, automotive and textile industries. If the trade deal is ratified, it is said to have the potential to create up to 300,000 jobs for Filipino workers.

The Philippines government is urging the country's senate to help boost local exports through the ratification of a USD 4 billion trade deal with Japan. Since the deal was struck last year, Japan has pledged to employ 1,000 Philippine nurses, and Japan has since shown interest in investing in several of the Philippines' industries, including food, automotive and textile industries. If the trade deal is ratified, it is said to have the potential to create up to 300,000 jobs for Filipino workers.

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philippines

Philippines Selected by US Firm as Outsourcing Hub

Kforce Global Solutions, a US staffing firm, has entered the outsourcing market and selected the Philippines as its main hub. The company's chief executive officer, Patrick Moneymaker, said that they are searching for finance and accountancy, human resource, information technology, and health and medical professionals. He adds that highly skilled individuals are necessary to compete in international markets, so they plan on making big investments on training programs and workers' benefits.

Kforce Global Solutions, a US staffing firm, has entered the outsourcing market and selected the Philippines as its main hub. The company's chief executive officer, Patrick Moneymaker, said that they are searching for finance and accountancy, human resource, information technology, and health and medical professionals. He adds that highly skilled individuals are necessary to compete in international markets, so they plan on making big investments on training programs and workers' benefits.

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philippines

Philippines: SALN Necessary to Qualify Under Tax Amnesty Law

The Philippines' new tax amnesty law, which was enacted May 28 of this year, will require individuals and corporate taxpayers, who wish to qualify, to submit their statements of assets and liabilities. In order to benefit from the amnesty, the taxpayers will be required to pay 5 percent of their total declared net worth as of December 31, 2005. This law was enacted in the hopes of retrieving some funds from tax delinquent individuals and companies amidst the country's current tax collection problems.

The Philippines' new tax amnesty law, which was enacted May 28 of this year, will require individuals and corporate taxpayers, who wish to qualify, to submit their statements of assets and liabilities. In order to benefit from the amnesty, the taxpayers will be required to pay 5 percent of their total declared net worth as of December 31, 2005. This law was enacted in the hopes of retrieving some funds from tax delinquent individuals and companies amidst the country's current tax collection problems.

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philippines

Philippines: Rice Supply Sufficient for Now

The Philippines' Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap has released a statement that the country will not yet begin importing rice. Despite a dry spell in the Philippines, the country's rice supply remain sufficient. Yap also warned suppliers and dealers that raising prices could potentially result in the National Food Authority (NFA) revoking their licenses. Presently, the NFA is recommending that farmers plant crops that do not require large amounts of water.

The Philippines' Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap has released a statement that the country will not yet begin importing rice. Despite a dry spell in the Philippines, the country's rice supply remain sufficient. Yap also warned suppliers and dealers that raising prices could potentially result in the National Food Authority (NFA) revoking their licenses. Presently, the NFA is recommending that farmers plant crops that do not require large amounts of water.

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philippines

Philippines: Farm Output Slows

Output from the farming sector of the Philippines has slowed during the first half of the year. This decrease in growth took place before the Philippines was hit with a dry spell, making it even more difficult for the Department of Agriculture to assess current conditions and to decide on this year's target output. The Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap said that the farming sector grew only 3.5 percent in the first half of the year, down from 5.24 percent in the same period in 2006.

Output from the farming sector of the Philippines has slowed during the first half of the year. This decrease in growth took place before the Philippines was hit with a dry spell, making it even more difficult for the Department of Agriculture to assess current conditions and to decide on this year's target output. The Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap said that the farming sector grew only 3.5 percent in the first half of the year, down from 5.24 percent in the same period in 2006.

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philippines

Philippine Government to Convert Power-Generating Facilities

The Philippine government looks to convert some of its existing power-generating facilities to gas-fed plants in an effort to increase the country's production of natural gas and reduce its dependency on imported coal and oil. Department of Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes said that the government is looking at the Sucat, Limay, and Malaya facilities for conversion to gas-ran plants. However, the government needs an endorsement from National Power Corporation, which owns the plants.

The Philippine government looks to convert some of its existing power-generating facilities to gas-fed plants in an effort to increase the country's production of natural gas and reduce its dependency on imported coal and oil. Department of Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes said that the government is looking at the Sucat, Limay, and Malaya facilities for conversion to gas-ran plants. However, the government needs an endorsement from National Power Corporation, which owns the plants.

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philippines

Trans-Asia Oil to Begin Exploration in Philippines

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines has given the Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation permission to begin an exploration program. This program will include geological investigation, geophysical surveys, and drilling in order to ascertain whether oil reserve levels justify commercial exploitation of the region of Camarines Norte.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines has given the Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation permission to begin an exploration program. This program will include geological investigation, geophysical surveys, and drilling in order to ascertain whether oil reserve levels justify commercial exploitation of the region of Camarines Norte.

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philippines

Philippines Fails to Meet Corporate and Withholding Tax Collection Goals in First Half of Year

The Philippines has fallen 3.9 percent short of it's goal to collect PHP 113.4 billion in corporate and withholding taxes. The Bureau of Internal Revenue has been urged to improve tax collection efforts as failure to do so effectively would weaken the government's finances and hinder the country's economic recovery and growth.

The Philippines has fallen 3.9 percent short of it's goal to collect PHP 113.4 billion in corporate and withholding taxes. The Bureau of Internal Revenue has been urged to improve tax collection efforts as failure to do so effectively would weaken the government's finances and hinder the country's economic recovery and growth.

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philippines

US Credit Trouble Poses No Significant Threat to Philippine Banks

U.S. subprime woes will have small and indirect effects on local Philippine Banks. Limited exposure to collateralized debt obligations in conjunction with growing accessibility of longer-term funding in Philippine Pesos has decreased the country's vulnerability to foreign market developments.

U.S. subprime woes will have small and indirect effects on local Philippine Banks. Limited exposure to collateralized debt obligations in conjunction with growing accessibility of longer-term funding in Philippine Pesos has decreased the country's vulnerability to foreign market developments.

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philippines

Vietnamese PM Welcomed by the Philippines’ President

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was formally welcomed at an official visit at the request of the Philippines' President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today. Both heads of state lauded recent reforms and developments in their counterpart's nation. The two leaders agreed to further bilateral ties and affirmed their determination to implement the joint statement on Viet Nam-Philippines comprehensive cooperation for the first 25 years of the 21st century and the following stages.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was formally welcomed at an official visit at the request of the Philippines' President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today. Both heads of state lauded recent reforms and developments in their counterpart's nation. The two leaders agreed to further bilateral ties and affirmed their determination to implement the joint statement on Viet Nam-Philippines comprehensive cooperation for the first 25 years of the 21st century and the following stages.

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philippines

Philippine Social Security System Exceeds Loan Ceiling

The Philippines Social Security System (SSS) cannot invest more than 10 percent of its reserve fund in the form of short and medium term loans to any of its members. The SSS had exceeded this ceiling by more than PHP 11 billion last year, and has been urged by the Commission of Audit to increase loan collection efforts in order to bring the ratio of invested funds down to 10 percent.

The Philippines Social Security System (SSS) cannot invest more than 10 percent of its reserve fund in the form of short and medium term loans to any of its members. The SSS had exceeded this ceiling by more than PHP 11 billion last year, and has been urged by the Commission of Audit to increase loan collection efforts in order to bring the ratio of invested funds down to 10 percent.

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philippines

Philippines: Lifting Foreign Ownership Caps Require Constitutional Changes

The Philippines' largest trading partners are pressuring it to lift foreign ownership caps. The cap currently limits foreign ownership of companies to particular percentages according to the corresponding business sector. The United States added that ownership caps tends to discourage investments by foreign firms and individuals. Although the reduction of tariffs is not a problem for trade negotiators, services negotiators are limited to market-opening commitments that are consistent with the country's Constitution. Lifting the foreign capital restrictions would require amendments to be made to the Constitution, but many complex political factors must be considered before any definitive action is taken.

The Philippines' largest trading partners are pressuring it to lift foreign ownership caps. The cap currently limits foreign ownership of companies to particular percentages according to the corresponding business sector. The United States added that ownership caps tends to discourage investments by foreign firms and individuals. Although the reduction of tariffs is not a problem for trade negotiators, services negotiators are limited to market-opening commitments that are consistent with the country's Constitution. Lifting the foreign capital restrictions would require amendments to be made to the Constitution, but many complex political factors must be considered before any definitive action is taken.

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philippines

Philippine Shares Rise

With the recovery of Wall Street, Philippines' stocks rose and broke the three day losing streak. The composite index gained 91.35 points or 2.8 percent to 3,348.34. Of the 167 stocks traded, 126 rose, 12 declined, and 29 ended flat. Investors will likely still be wary of the stock market as they struggle to understand the US subprime loan crisis, but share prices were pushed up by investors trying to buy the lows as stocks are already oversold.

With the recovery of Wall Street, Philippines' stocks rose and broke the three day losing streak. The composite index gained 91.35 points or 2.8 percent to 3,348.34. Of the 167 stocks traded, 126 rose, 12 declined, and 29 ended flat. Investors will likely still be wary of the stock market as they struggle to understand the US subprime loan crisis, but share prices were pushed up by investors trying to buy the lows as stocks are already oversold.

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philippines

Philippine Retirement Authority and Banks Assist Retirees

The Philippine Retirement Authority and 18 local banks signed memoranda yesterday to assist and attract retirees in their investments. These accredited banks would serve as conduits for fees for Special Resident Retiree's Visas, and are been asked to provide retirees with higher interest rates for deposits and other services. The Philippines' development plan here is to create eight million jobs in the retirement industry and produce USD 44 billion in revenue by 2015.

The Philippine Retirement Authority and 18 local banks signed memoranda yesterday to assist and attract retirees in their investments. These accredited banks would serve as conduits for fees for Special Resident Retiree's Visas, and are been asked to provide retirees with higher interest rates for deposits and other services. The Philippines' development plan here is to create eight million jobs in the retirement industry and produce USD 44 billion in revenue by 2015.

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philippines

Philippines: World Bank Extends Financial Assistance

Recognizing the Philippines' fiscal reforms, the World Bank extended its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for an additional year to 2009 and for up to USD 1.7 billion. However, this proposal is predicated on the sustained fiscal reforms and economic growth of the Philippines, which is contingent upon the policies of the Arroyo administration.

Recognizing the Philippines' fiscal reforms, the World Bank extended its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for an additional year to 2009 and for up to USD 1.7 billion. However, this proposal is predicated on the sustained fiscal reforms and economic growth of the Philippines, which is contingent upon the policies of the Arroyo administration.

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philippines

Philippine Economy Improving Debt Ratio

Over the past few years, the Philippines has made huge strides in improving its economic debt ratio. The government expects the debt ratio to be 59% by the end of the year from a high of 79% in 2004. Despite the government's fiscal performance in the first half of the year, there is some optimism that the government will be able to produce the necessary funds for infrastructure development and continue to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio.

Over the past few years, the Philippines has made huge strides in improving its economic debt ratio. The government expects the debt ratio to be 59% by the end of the year from a high of 79% in 2004. Despite the government's fiscal performance in the first half of the year, there is some optimism that the government will be able to produce the necessary funds for infrastructure development and continue to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio.

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philippines

Philippine Government Fails to Collect PHP 65 Billion in Taxes

Philippine Finance Secretary Teves announced yesterday that the government has failed to collect PHP 65 billion in taxes. Despite an increased sales tax rate of 12 percent and wider coverage, inefficient tax collections have caused shortfalls in tax revenues. Teves attributes the shortfalls to the failure of citizens to demand receipts on purchases, and the fact that in 2006 only 6.6 million of the 33 million employed individuals were registered and paid their taxes.

Philippine Finance Secretary Teves announced yesterday that the government has failed to collect PHP 65 billion in taxes. Despite an increased sales tax rate of 12 percent and wider coverage, inefficient tax collections have caused shortfalls in tax revenues. Teves attributes the shortfalls to the failure of citizens to demand receipts on purchases, and the fact that in 2006 only 6.6 million of the 33 million employed individuals were registered and paid their taxes.

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philippines

Fuel Shortage Predicted in Philippines

Due to the Philippines' Bureau of Customs shutting down an oil depot in Bataan, experts are predicting an oil supply shortage within the next 15 days. The Bureau of Customs shut down the oil depot because the Oilink International Depot failed to pay PHP 353 million in taxes. Oil experts believe that the closure will affect 12 percent of the country's daily demand. Oilink is currently seeking legal action in an attempt to reopen its facilities.

Due to the Philippines' Bureau of Customs shutting down an oil depot in Bataan, experts are predicting an oil supply shortage within the next 15 days. The Bureau of Customs shut down the oil depot because the Oilink International Depot failed to pay PHP 353 million in taxes. Oil experts believe that the closure will affect 12 percent of the country's daily demand. Oilink is currently seeking legal action in an attempt to reopen its facilities.

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philippines

Philippine Exports Fail to Hit Growth Target for Year

Judging by the pacing of export receipts in the first half, experts believe that the Philippines will not make its 11 percent export growth target by the end of the year. Exports for the first half only grew by 7 percent, lower than the 8 or 9 percent growth needed to hit 11 percent goal by the end of the year. Last year exports grew by 14 percent to PHP 47.03 billion. The slowdown this year is being attributed to a strong peso.

Judging by the pacing of export receipts in the first half, experts believe that the Philippines will not make its 11 percent export growth target by the end of the year. Exports for the first half only grew by 7 percent, lower than the 8 or 9 percent growth needed to hit 11 percent goal by the end of the year. Last year exports grew by 14 percent to PHP 47.03 billion. The slowdown this year is being attributed to a strong peso.

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philippines

Price of Energy Surges in the Philippines

In recent sessions of the Philippine Electricity Market Corp., the price of energy sold has been surging, leading experts to believe that consumers will soon experience higher electricity bills. Coal-fed and hydroelectric energy facilities have been failing to operate at full capacity, so crude oil-based power plants have been getting a higher share in the market to compensate. The oil based plants are costlier and thus have been raising the energy prices steadily in the past month.

In recent sessions of the Philippine Electricity Market Corp., the price of energy sold has been surging, leading experts to believe that consumers will soon experience higher electricity bills. Coal-fed and hydroelectric energy facilities have been failing to operate at full capacity, so crude oil-based power plants have been getting a higher share in the market to compensate. The oil based plants are costlier and thus have been raising the energy prices steadily in the past month.

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philippines

Bank of the Philippines Achieves Growth in First Semester

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the Philippines' second largest bank reported a net income of PHP 5.7 billion at the end of June, achieving a 24 percent growth year on year. The bank's main source of income was noninterest income, which grew by 37 percent. Experts attribute this increase to a 216 percent growth in income from asset sales, retail income, foreign exchange securities trading, and insurance subsidiaries.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the Philippines' second largest bank reported a net income of PHP 5.7 billion at the end of June, achieving a 24 percent growth year on year. The bank's main source of income was noninterest income, which grew by 37 percent. Experts attribute this increase to a 216 percent growth in income from asset sales, retail income, foreign exchange securities trading, and insurance subsidiaries.

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philippines

Philippine Debt Service Reduced for 2008

Th Philippine government has decided to reduce the allocated interest payments on foreign debt for 2008, due to the ongoing strengthening of the peso. The interest payments will drop from 28 percent to 24.1 percent, or PHP 295.8 billion. This drop will allow "productive components" of the budget to receive more money in the budget. Social service spending will also increase, boosted by the better than expected fiscal numbers.

Th Philippine government has decided to reduce the allocated interest payments on foreign debt for 2008, due to the ongoing strengthening of the peso. The interest payments will drop from 28 percent to 24.1 percent, or PHP 295.8 billion. This drop will allow "productive components" of the budget to receive more money in the budget. Social service spending will also increase, boosted by the better than expected fiscal numbers.

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philippines

Philippines to Invest PHP 500 million in Business District

Quezon City in the Philippines has announced a plan to spend PHP 500 million on a 250 hectare Central Business District (CBD). The CBD will involve redevelopment of the current roads, and will be organized into five districts which will take up 2 percent of the total land in Quezon City. The CBD is envisioned as a "well-planned, integrated and environmentally-balanced mixed use development model."

Quezon City in the Philippines has announced a plan to spend PHP 500 million on a 250 hectare Central Business District (CBD). The CBD will involve redevelopment of the current roads, and will be organized into five districts which will take up 2 percent of the total land in Quezon City. The CBD is envisioned as a "well-planned, integrated and environmentally-balanced mixed use development model."

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philippines

Philippine Imports Drop 3.4 Percent in May

Due to a rapid drop in demand for electronic components used in exports, imports to the Philippines dropped 3.4 percent from last year to USD 4.29 billion. Electronic product imports fell 10.9 percent in May, a significant figure since electronic products account for 41.6 percent of total imports. Although some sectors such as textiles and transport equipment saw increases, others like industrial machinery and equipment and mineral fuels saw steep declines.

Due to a rapid drop in demand for electronic components used in exports, imports to the Philippines dropped 3.4 percent from last year to USD 4.29 billion. Electronic product imports fell 10.9 percent in May, a significant figure since electronic products account for 41.6 percent of total imports. Although some sectors such as textiles and transport equipment saw increases, others like industrial machinery and equipment and mineral fuels saw steep declines.

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philippines

Philippine Road Tax Raising Vegetable Prices

Local growers are complaining that the recent road taxes and truck ban, which prohibits growers from delivering their products directly to the buyers between 6 and 9am, are raising the costs of vegetables. Farmers have been using smaller vans and selling their produce to middlemen, both of which have been driving prices up for consumers. The Department of Agriculture claims that vegetables are exempted from the truck ban, but there are problems with local governmental units.

Local growers are complaining that the recent road taxes and truck ban, which prohibits growers from delivering their products directly to the buyers between 6 and 9am, are raising the costs of vegetables. Farmers have been using smaller vans and selling their produce to middlemen, both of which have been driving prices up for consumers. The Department of Agriculture claims that vegetables are exempted from the truck ban, but there are problems with local governmental units.

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philippines

Philippine Manufacturing Output Drops in May

Manufacturing output in textiles, machinery, and tabacco has continued to decline, excluding the electrical sector. According to the Philippine National Statistics Office, the volume of production index (VoIP) declined 7.1 percent compared to a 1.6 percent drop in April. Contributing factors may include the fact that only 11 percent of manufacturing firms are operating at full capacity, and a third operated below 70 percent capacity. There was also a 5.5 percent drop in the value of production index.

Manufacturing output in textiles, machinery, and tabacco has continued to decline, excluding the electrical sector. According to the Philippine National Statistics Office, the volume of production index (VoIP) declined 7.1 percent compared to a 1.6 percent drop in April. Contributing factors may include the fact that only 11 percent of manufacturing firms are operating at full capacity, and a third operated below 70 percent capacity. There was also a 5.5 percent drop in the value of production index.

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philippines

Solid Earnings Drive Up Regional Asia-Pacific Benchmark

Better-than-expected earnings forecasts and profit reports at a number of Asia-Pacific's largest companies helped prop up the regional benchmark index on Tuesday. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.9 percent to hit 161.36 points at 6:22 pm in Tokyo, erasing a slide of 0.4 percent yesterday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi index hit 2,000.00 points for the first time, while the markets in Pakistan and the Philippines regressed.

Better-than-expected earnings forecasts and profit reports at a number of Asia-Pacific's largest companies helped prop up the regional benchmark index on Tuesday. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.9 percent to hit 161.36 points at 6:22 pm in Tokyo, erasing a slide of 0.4 percent yesterday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi index hit 2,000.00 points for the first time, while the markets in Pakistan and the Philippines regressed.

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philippines

Philippine Fiscal Gap Jumps to PHP 41 Billion; Revenues Drop

With a PHP 41 billion first half budget deficit, the Philippines overshot the first half target by almost PHP 10 billion. Despite widening the scope of sales tax, increasing the corporate tax and raising the taxes on cigarettes and liquors, poor tax collection is still damaging the government's ability to lessen the budget deficit. The Finance Minister still maintains that the Philippines will achieve its goal of a 0.9 percent of GDP budget deficit (PHP 63 billion) by the end of the year.

With a PHP 41 billion first half budget deficit, the Philippines overshot the first half target by almost PHP 10 billion. Despite widening the scope of sales tax, increasing the corporate tax and raising the taxes on cigarettes and liquors, poor tax collection is still damaging the government's ability to lessen the budget deficit. The Finance Minister still maintains that the Philippines will achieve its goal of a 0.9 percent of GDP budget deficit (PHP 63 billion) by the end of the year.

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philippines

Asia-Pacific Index Declines for Third Consecutive Day

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slid 1 percent to close at 175.54 on Wednesday, a cumulative three-day decline of 1.2 percent. Only the markets of China, India, and the Philippines rose, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average sliding 1.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi index declining 1 percent. Concerns that losses at Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds will prompt a shift in favor from equities to government bonds has been a major influence on the longest losing streak in 2 months.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slid 1 percent to close at 175.54 on Wednesday, a cumulative three-day decline of 1.2 percent. Only the markets of China, India, and the Philippines rose, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average sliding 1.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi index declining 1 percent. Concerns that losses at Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds will prompt a shift in favor from equities to government bonds has been a major influence on the longest losing streak in 2 months.

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philippines

Philippines to Build Asia's Largest Methane Power Plant

Expected to open in January 2008, a USD 32 million power plant will extract methane gas from a 5 year old landfill, producing an expected 15 megawatts of electricity. This plant will be the largest in Asia, producing enough electricity to power 15,000 homes. Environmentalists are opposing this project, claiming that the plant will only encourage people to waste more, adding to the 10,000 tons of garbage a day that metro Manila produces.

Expected to open in January 2008, a USD 32 million power plant will extract methane gas from a 5 year old landfill, producing an expected 15 megawatts of electricity. This plant will be the largest in Asia, producing enough electricity to power 15,000 homes. Environmentalists are opposing this project, claiming that the plant will only encourage people to waste more, adding to the 10,000 tons of garbage a day that metro Manila produces.

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philippines

Philippine Bank Lending Up 3.6 Percent for May

By the end of May, Philippine domestic commercial banks had lent out PHP 1.951 trillion, which is 3.6 percent more than May of last year. This increase is not as large as April's 12.1 percent jump, which may be due to the central bank's attempts to release excess liquidity in May. The central bank opened its special deposit account window to commercial banks, cut both the overnight borrowing rate to 6.0 percent and its overnight lending rate to 8.0 percent, and removed the tiering system.

By the end of May, Philippine domestic commercial banks had lent out PHP 1.951 trillion, which is 3.6 percent more than May of last year. This increase is not as large as April's 12.1 percent jump, which may be due to the central bank's attempts to release excess liquidity in May. The central bank opened its special deposit account window to commercial banks, cut both the overnight borrowing rate to 6.0 percent and its overnight lending rate to 8.0 percent, and removed the tiering system.

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philippines

Philippines Drops 3 Spots in Global Competitiveness

The Philippines have dropped three spots to 45th place in the 2007 World Competitiveness Scoreboard, a ranking consisting of 55 nations. The ranking is based upon four factors: government efficiency, business efficiency, economic performance, and infrastructure. The Philippines dropped in the rankings due to poor government policy and energy infrastructure. Scoring 39th place in energy infrastructure, the Philippine government hopes to lower electricity rates in order to get investors to construct and invest more in the economy.

The Philippines have dropped three spots to 45th place in the 2007 World Competitiveness Scoreboard, a ranking consisting of 55 nations. The ranking is based upon four factors: government efficiency, business efficiency, economic performance, and infrastructure. The Philippines dropped in the rankings due to poor government policy and energy infrastructure. Scoring 39th place in energy infrastructure, the Philippine government hopes to lower electricity rates in order to get investors to construct and invest more in the economy.

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philippines

Philippine Peso Hits 7 Year High

The Philippine peso hit a 7 year high at closing yesterday, reaching 45.25 PHP per USD, which is an increase of 2.2 percent in five sessions. Some of the factors that will affect this rate include the central bank cutting its borrowing and lending rates by 150 to 175 basis points and removing a tiering scheme for overnight deposits, in addition to several large IPOs scheduled for this month.

The Philippine peso hit a 7 year high at closing yesterday, reaching 45.25 PHP per USD, which is an increase of 2.2 percent in five sessions. Some of the factors that will affect this rate include the central bank cutting its borrowing and lending rates by 150 to 175 basis points and removing a tiering scheme for overnight deposits, in addition to several large IPOs scheduled for this month.

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philippines

Foreign Buying in Philippine Stock Exchange Hits Record High

The Philippine Stock Exchange announced that net foreign buying has increased to a record high of PHP 64.4 billion for the first quarter, up 155 percent from the first quarter last year. Net foreign buying reached a 1 month high in June with PHP 17.83 billion, breaking the previous record of PHP 15.96 billion in September last year. Experts find this trend to be representative of increasing confidence in the Philippine economy.

The Philippine Stock Exchange announced that net foreign buying has increased to a record high of PHP 64.4 billion for the first quarter, up 155 percent from the first quarter last year. Net foreign buying reached a 1 month high in June with PHP 17.83 billion, breaking the previous record of PHP 15.96 billion in September last year. Experts find this trend to be representative of increasing confidence in the Philippine economy.

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philippines

Philippines Reject All Bids for T-Bills

The Philippine Bureau of Treasury rejected all bids for 6 month and 1 year treasury bills (T-bills) due to the huge premium that banks were asking, which the Acting National Treasurer called "unreasonable." The government has been having issues with the budget deficit, and is experiencing difficulty and high costs to borrow from domestic sources. Although the target deficit is PHP 63 billion, experts are estimating that it will reach the heights of PHP 100 billion. The 6 month T-bill has an average offered rate of 5.016, 37.7 basis points higher than this point last year, and the 1 year T-bill hit 5.438, which is 52.1 basis points higher than July of last year.

The Philippine Bureau of Treasury rejected all bids for 6 month and 1 year treasury bills (T-bills) due to the huge premium that banks were asking, which the Acting National Treasurer called "unreasonable." The government has been having issues with the budget deficit, and is experiencing difficulty and high costs to borrow from domestic sources. Although the target deficit is PHP 63 billion, experts are estimating that it will reach the heights of PHP 100 billion. The 6 month T-bill has an average offered rate of 5.016, 37.7 basis points higher than this point last year, and the 1 year T-bill hit 5.438, which is 52.1 basis points higher than July of last year.

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philippines

Philippine Vehicle Sales Up 17 Percent

According to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers, the first quarter automotive sales have hit a 17 percent increase, from 46,250 units to 54,259 units. The Chamber's president attributed the growth to a stronger peso and the launch of new models. Passenger car sales achieved a 5.9 percent growth for the year, while commercial vehicles reached a growth of 24.6 percent for the first half of the year.

According to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers, the first quarter automotive sales have hit a 17 percent increase, from 46,250 units to 54,259 units. The Chamber's president attributed the growth to a stronger peso and the launch of new models. Passenger car sales achieved a 5.9 percent growth for the year, while commercial vehicles reached a growth of 24.6 percent for the first half of the year.

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philippines

Philippine Central Bank Cuts Interest Rates

Due to the easing growth of the Philippines' money supply and improvement in bank lending, Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the central bank, is reducing interest rates for overnight borrowing and lending facilities. The overnight borrowing rates will be reduced to 6 percent, and the overnight lending rates will be reduced to 8 percent, a drop from 7.5 and 9.75 percent, respectively.

Due to the easing growth of the Philippines' money supply and improvement in bank lending, Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the central bank, is reducing interest rates for overnight borrowing and lending facilities. The overnight borrowing rates will be reduced to 6 percent, and the overnight lending rates will be reduced to 8 percent, a drop from 7.5 and 9.75 percent, respectively.

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philippines

Philippines Budget Deficit to Remain Under PHP 63 Billion

Despite lower than expected tax collections, Philippine Finance Secretary Margarito Teves announced that the 2007 Philippine budget deficit will not exceed PHP 63 billion, which is 0.9 percent of the GDP. Teves hopes to remain under the deficit target by implementing more aggressive programs to stop tax evaders, privatization, and intensified tax collections.

Despite lower than expected tax collections, Philippine Finance Secretary Margarito Teves announced that the 2007 Philippine budget deficit will not exceed PHP 63 billion, which is 0.9 percent of the GDP. Teves hopes to remain under the deficit target by implementing more aggressive programs to stop tax evaders, privatization, and intensified tax collections.

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philippines

Philippines Sustains Growth into Second Quarter

According to the Philippine National Economic and Development Authority, the second quarter growth is predicted to be around 6 percent, which is about the same as the first quarter this year. This growth is being attributed to election-related spending, growth in the stock market, tourism, construction, and real estate sectors. The predicted GDP growth for the entire year is between 6.1 and 6.7 percent.

According to the Philippine National Economic and Development Authority, the second quarter growth is predicted to be around 6 percent, which is about the same as the first quarter this year. This growth is being attributed to election-related spending, growth in the stock market, tourism, construction, and real estate sectors. The predicted GDP growth for the entire year is between 6.1 and 6.7 percent.

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philippines

Cosco to Build USD 3 Billion Hub in Philippines

China Ocean Shipping Co. (Cosco) is sending representatives to Manila to find potential locations to build projects, part of a USD 3 billion investment in the Philippines. The potential projects include a container terminal, a logistics center for handling cargo, a base for shipbuilding and crew training, and a transshipment hub, but the investment is still tentative. The new transshipment hub would allow Cosco to take pressure off its Singapore and Hong Kong hubs at a lower cost.

China Ocean Shipping Co. (Cosco) is sending representatives to Manila to find potential locations to build projects, part of a USD 3 billion investment in the Philippines. The potential projects include a container terminal, a logistics center for handling cargo, a base for shipbuilding and crew training, and a transshipment hub, but the investment is still tentative. The new transshipment hub would allow Cosco to take pressure off its Singapore and Hong Kong hubs at a lower cost.

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philippines

FDI Slumps in Philippines

In anticipation of the May elections, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Philippines dropped to USD 754 million for the first four months of 2007. This is a 4.8 percent drop from the same period last year, which reached USD 792 million. The net inflow of FDI for April is down 77.8 percent from April 2006. The investments were mainly directed at electronics, real estate, financial intermediation, agriculture, health and chemical manufacturing, construction, and mining.

In anticipation of the May elections, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Philippines dropped to USD 754 million for the first four months of 2007. This is a 4.8 percent drop from the same period last year, which reached USD 792 million. The net inflow of FDI for April is down 77.8 percent from April 2006. The investments were mainly directed at electronics, real estate, financial intermediation, agriculture, health and chemical manufacturing, construction, and mining.

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philippines

Philippine Exports Rise 7.6 Percent in May

On a year to year basis, exports in the Philippines rose a likely 7.6 percent from April to May. Experts believe this is due to increased demand for electronics in Europe and China, although demand in the United States has slowed. Global demand has remained strong, which also benefits the Philippine economy. With a three month average of USD 1.67 billion in worldwide billings in May 2007, there was an increase of 6 percent from April 2007.

On a year to year basis, exports in the Philippines rose a likely 7.6 percent from April to May. Experts believe this is due to increased demand for electronics in Europe and China, although demand in the United States has slowed. Global demand has remained strong, which also benefits the Philippine economy. With a three month average of USD 1.67 billion in worldwide billings in May 2007, there was an increase of 6 percent from April 2007.

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philippines

Morgan Stanley Asia-Pacific Index Recovers on Monday

As a number of Asia-Pacific's exchanges surged on Monday, Morgan Stanley's International Asia-Pacific Index jumped 1.1 percent to 157.95, recovering from a 0.1 percent slip on July 6. Japan's Nikkei 225 hit a seven-year high, South Korea's Kospi hit a fourth straight high, Taiwan's Taiex realized a sixth straight day of gains, and Singapore's Straits Times hit an eleven-week high. Benchmarks climbed everywhere in the region except in the Philippines, where the SET Index fell. China's CSI 300 paced all benchmark gains.

As a number of Asia-Pacific's exchanges surged on Monday, Morgan Stanley's International Asia-Pacific Index jumped 1.1 percent to 157.95, recovering from a 0.1 percent slip on July 6. Japan's Nikkei 225 hit a seven-year high, South Korea's Kospi hit a fourth straight high, Taiwan's Taiex realized a sixth straight day of gains, and Singapore's Straits Times hit an eleven-week high. Benchmarks climbed everywhere in the region except in the Philippines, where the SET Index fell. China's CSI 300 paced all benchmark gains.

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philippines

Philippines Government to Increase Fees and Charges

The Philippine government announced that it is raising the fees and charges that its various agencies collect in an attempt to make up for the budget shortfall. Prior attempts to compensate for the shortfall by increasing and collecting more taxes have failed. The Bureau of Treasury has set a target collection of PHP 36 billion. Last year's collection only reached PHP 30.9 billion.

The Philippine government announced that it is raising the fees and charges that its various agencies collect in an attempt to make up for the budget shortfall. Prior attempts to compensate for the shortfall by increasing and collecting more taxes have failed. The Bureau of Treasury has set a target collection of PHP 36 billion. Last year's collection only reached PHP 30.9 billion.

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philippines

First Drop in a Week on International Asia-Pacific Index

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

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philippines

Philippines Predict 10 Percent Export Growth for Fishery Products

Due to expanding markets for tuna and shrimp in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, the Philippines expect a 10 percent growth in fishery product export this year to USD 511.286 million. Production will be increased to 4.85 million metric tons from 4.4 million metric tons in 2006. Large growth rates are predicted for crab, shrimp, and prawn harvests. The export value for tuna is expected to grow from USD 143.33 million to USD 157.66 million.

Due to expanding markets for tuna and shrimp in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, the Philippines expect a 10 percent growth in fishery product export this year to USD 511.286 million. Production will be increased to 4.85 million metric tons from 4.4 million metric tons in 2006. Large growth rates are predicted for crab, shrimp, and prawn harvests. The export value for tuna is expected to grow from USD 143.33 million to USD 157.66 million.

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philippines

Philippine Airlines Earns Record Profit of USD 140.3 Million

In the 2006-7 fiscal year, Philippine Airlines (PAL) earned a record high profit of USD140.3 million, nearly a six-fold jump from the previous year's profit of USD 22.8 million. This expansion can be attributed to strong performances in the passenger and cargo businesses along with a few non-recurring items. PAL flew 6.9 million passengers, and sustained a 6.4 percent increase in expenses.

In the 2006-7 fiscal year, Philippine Airlines (PAL) earned a record high profit of USD140.3 million, nearly a six-fold jump from the previous year's profit of USD 22.8 million. This expansion can be attributed to strong performances in the passenger and cargo businesses along with a few non-recurring items. PAL flew 6.9 million passengers, and sustained a 6.4 percent increase in expenses.

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World Bank Shows Corncern over Philippines Fiscal Reform Shortfalls

The World Bank is concerned that the fiscal reform efforts in the Philippines have stalled, and believes that if it does not get back in order, all the economic reforms made over several years will be in jeopardy. Tax collection shortfalls have increased from PHP 10 billion to PHP 25 billion from the end of March to the end of May. The government is selling off state owned companies in hopes of being able to balance the budget by next year.

The World Bank is concerned that the fiscal reform efforts in the Philippines have stalled, and believes that if it does not get back in order, all the economic reforms made over several years will be in jeopardy. Tax collection shortfalls have increased from PHP 10 billion to PHP 25 billion from the end of March to the end of May. The government is selling off state owned companies in hopes of being able to balance the budget by next year.

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philippines

Philippines Look to Equatorial Guinea for Oil Deal

Philippines President Arroyo visited Equatorial Guinea with the goal of arranging a deal for oil. The two presidents will meet and sign an accord agreeing to further bilateral cooperation, also allowing the Philippines to explore for oil. There is a proposed joint venture between the government-owned oil corporations of both countries.

Philippines President Arroyo visited Equatorial Guinea with the goal of arranging a deal for oil. The two presidents will meet and sign an accord agreeing to further bilateral cooperation, also allowing the Philippines to explore for oil. There is a proposed joint venture between the government-owned oil corporations of both countries.

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Philippines to Sell Off Geothermal Energy Corporation

The Philippines plans on selling off its entire stake in the government corporation controlling geothermal energy, in hopes of unloading while the price is good. The government believes it can get PHP50 billion for the 60% stake which it holds. Analysts agree that it will help combat the deficit gap, but argue that it does nothing to address problems of tax evasion and corruption.

The Philippines plans on selling off its entire stake in the government corporation controlling geothermal energy, in hopes of unloading while the price is good. The government believes it can get PHP50 billion for the 60% stake which it holds. Analysts agree that it will help combat the deficit gap, but argue that it does nothing to address problems of tax evasion and corruption.

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Philippines Trade Deficit Narrows

In April, the Philippine trade deficit narrowed to USD 219 million, from USD 499 million last year. Exports have grown 5.1 percent to USD 4.11 billion, while imports have declined 1.8 percent to USD 4.33 billion. Th U.S. remains the Philippines' largest source of imports, followed by Singapore and Japan. From January to April, there was a deficit of USD 8 million in the balance of trade in goods.

In April, the Philippine trade deficit narrowed to USD 219 million, from USD 499 million last year. Exports have grown 5.1 percent to USD 4.11 billion, while imports have declined 1.8 percent to USD 4.33 billion. Th U.S. remains the Philippines' largest source of imports, followed by Singapore and Japan. From January to April, there was a deficit of USD 8 million in the balance of trade in goods.

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Philippine Industrial Sector Continues Slump

The Philippine industrial sector has continued its downward slump to 16 months since December 2005, according to government statistics. The slide is being attributed to declining output in tobacco, textiles, and machinery. Net sales volumes declining have led to declines in operating capacity at factories. In April 2007, 89.7% of factories in the industrial sector operated at 89% or lower capacity.

The Philippine industrial sector has continued its downward slump to 16 months since December 2005, according to government statistics. The slide is being attributed to declining output in tobacco, textiles, and machinery. Net sales volumes declining have led to declines in operating capacity at factories. In April 2007, 89.7% of factories in the industrial sector operated at 89% or lower capacity.

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Philippine Central Bank Lowers FDI Forecasts

The Central Bank of the Philippines has revised down its estimate for net Foreign Direct Investment (Investment inflows minus repatriation) from USD 2.2 billion to USD 2.1 billion. The reason given is the postponement of some mining investments in the country. Investment in mining is now expected to be USD 348 million instead of the originally-forecast USD 872 million.

The Central Bank of the Philippines has revised down its estimate for net Foreign Direct Investment (Investment inflows minus repatriation) from USD 2.2 billion to USD 2.1 billion. The reason given is the postponement of some mining investments in the country. Investment in mining is now expected to be USD 348 million instead of the originally-forecast USD 872 million.

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Wachovia to Open Call Center in Philippines

Wachovia Corp. announced plans to open a call center in Philippines early next year to meet increasing demands for services. This will be the banks first venture abroad, though Wachovia explained that the 13 call centers based in the U.S. would not close due to the overseas expansion.

Wachovia Corp. announced plans to open a call center in Philippines early next year to meet increasing demands for services. This will be the banks first venture abroad, though Wachovia explained that the 13 call centers based in the U.S. would not close due to the overseas expansion.

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Philippine Stock Shares Drop 0.4 Percent

Philippine shares declined on Tuesday following a three-day rally that propelled the stock market to record highs. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index lost 13.41 points or 0.4 percent at 3,667.14, after reaching a record close of 3,680.55 on Monday. The market dropped on Tuesday after the government announced a budget gap for the month of May.

Philippine shares declined on Tuesday following a three-day rally that propelled the stock market to record highs. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index lost 13.41 points or 0.4 percent at 3,667.14, after reaching a record close of 3,680.55 on Monday. The market dropped on Tuesday after the government announced a budget gap for the month of May.

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Philippines' Money Supply Growth Seen To Slow Down

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said its latest money supply data show a deceleration in domestic liquidity growth, which indicates the initial effect of BSP's mopping up operations. Worried over the long-term impact of rapid liquidity growth, the BSP decided to clean up some of the liquidity by making its special deposit account (SDAs) more attractive than banks and opening the facility to trust entities. The mopping up operations expected to slow down the growth in domestic liquidity to below 20 percent.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said its latest money supply data show a deceleration in domestic liquidity growth, which indicates the initial effect of BSP's mopping up operations. Worried over the long-term impact of rapid liquidity growth, the BSP decided to clean up some of the liquidity by making its special deposit account (SDAs) more attractive than banks and opening the facility to trust entities. The mopping up operations expected to slow down the growth in domestic liquidity to below 20 percent.

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Japanese Oil Firm Cosmo Plans Biofuel Plants In Central Philippines

Japanese oil firm Cosmo Oil Co. Ltd. plans to build a bioethanol plant and a biodiesel plant at costs of USD 100 million and USD 50 million respectively in the province of Leyte, which is located in the central part of the Philippines. The fuel products produced at the Leyte plants will be sold to local customers and exported to Japan, Australia, and Europe.

Japanese oil firm Cosmo Oil Co. Ltd. plans to build a bioethanol plant and a biodiesel plant at costs of USD 100 million and USD 50 million respectively in the province of Leyte, which is located in the central part of the Philippines. The fuel products produced at the Leyte plants will be sold to local customers and exported to Japan, Australia, and Europe.

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Philippines Plans to Raise Forex Swap Limit to USD 13 Billion

In order to purchase more dollars in the spot currency market and slow down the appreciation of the peso, The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is seeking the approval of the Monetary Board to increase the limit on foreign currency swaps from USD 10 billion to USD 13 billion.

In order to purchase more dollars in the spot currency market and slow down the appreciation of the peso, The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is seeking the approval of the Monetary Board to increase the limit on foreign currency swaps from USD 10 billion to USD 13 billion.

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philippines

Laos and Philippines Sign Investment Agreement

Laos and the Philippines signed an investment promotion and protection agreement expected to open investment relations between the two countries. During the signing ceremony, both countries' officials discussed future investment opportunities, as well as East Asian cooperation, regional security, sub-regional growth areas, and counter-terrorism issues.

Laos and the Philippines signed an investment promotion and protection agreement expected to open investment relations between the two countries. During the signing ceremony, both countries' officials discussed future investment opportunities, as well as East Asian cooperation, regional security, sub-regional growth areas, and counter-terrorism issues.

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Philippines' Fiscal Growth Gets Confidence From JCRA

Due to Philippines' improvements in its fiscal and macroeconomic condition, Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCRA) upgraded Philippine's sovereign rating from stable to positive. Philippines' fiscal deficit as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP) steadily declined from 2.7 percent in 2005 to 1.1 percent last year. The JCRA does not expect this growth to falter drastically in the future, since it sees the Philippine GDP growth to reach 6 percent this year due to an improving financial system.

Due to Philippines' improvements in its fiscal and macroeconomic condition, Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCRA) upgraded Philippine's sovereign rating from stable to positive. Philippines' fiscal deficit as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP) steadily declined from 2.7 percent in 2005 to 1.1 percent last year. The JCRA does not expect this growth to falter drastically in the future, since it sees the Philippine GDP growth to reach 6 percent this year due to an improving financial system.

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Malaysia's Maxis Launches Groundbreaking Money Transfer Service

Maxis, Malaysia's number one telecommunication services provider, has launched the world's first international mobile to mobile money transfer service. Under a partnership with Philippines' Globe Telecom, this service will allow Filipino workers to transfer Ringgits to Pesos across the border instantly. Maxis is hoping to extend this service to Indonesia by the end of the month, thus capitalizing on the USD 4.2 billion a year that Filipino and Indonesian workers send home from Malaysia.

Maxis, Malaysia's number one telecommunication services provider, has launched the world's first international mobile to mobile money transfer service. Under a partnership with Philippines' Globe Telecom, this service will allow Filipino workers to transfer Ringgits to Pesos across the border instantly. Maxis is hoping to extend this service to Indonesia by the end of the month, thus capitalizing on the USD 4.2 billion a year that Filipino and Indonesian workers send home from Malaysia.

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Philippines Trying to Resolve Issue of Exporting Fruit to Australia

Filipinos have been waiting for more than a decade for the release of the long overdue import risk analysis (IRA) on the entry of fresh fruits to Australia. Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who joins President Arroyo's Australia visit, will discuss resuming fruit exports to Australia with his Australian counterparts. If the trade issues are solved, the Philippines could export 10 million cartons of fresh bananas, with great potential for other fruits such as pineapples and mangoes, to Australia.

Filipinos have been waiting for more than a decade for the release of the long overdue import risk analysis (IRA) on the entry of fresh fruits to Australia. Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who joins President Arroyo's Australia visit, will discuss resuming fruit exports to Australia with his Australian counterparts. If the trade issues are solved, the Philippines could export 10 million cartons of fresh bananas, with great potential for other fruits such as pineapples and mangoes, to Australia.

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philippines

First Quarter Philippine Economic Growth Sets Fastest Pace in 17 Years

The Philippines' economy growth rate showed a historical record of 6.9 percent in the first quarter, exceeding expectations and setting the fastest pace of the last 17 years. Low inflation and increased infrastructure spending ahead of the May 14 elections helped the economy grow. Compared with the previous quarter, the Philippines' overall economy expanded 2.5 percent. Furthermore, the Philippines' GDP growth rate in the first quarter reached the government's target of 6.1 percent.

The Philippines' economy growth rate showed a historical record of 6.9 percent in the first quarter, exceeding expectations and setting the fastest pace of the last 17 years. Low inflation and increased infrastructure spending ahead of the May 14 elections helped the economy grow. Compared with the previous quarter, the Philippines' overall economy expanded 2.5 percent. Furthermore, the Philippines' GDP growth rate in the first quarter reached the government's target of 6.1 percent.

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APEC to Study State-Owned Oil Firms

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

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Philippine Government Considers Infrastructure Investment Fund

The Philippine government plans to set up an investment fund to support its priority infrastructure projects. The improvement in the government's fiscal position, low interest rate environment, the downward trend in inflation, and strong peso and international reserves provide an encouraging environment for investment in Philippines. The Philippine government plans to spend 4.45 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to finance the Comprehensive Integrated Infrastructure Program 2006-2010, brining the Philippines closer to the 5 percent ratio for neighboring countries.

The Philippine government plans to set up an investment fund to support its priority infrastructure projects. The improvement in the government's fiscal position, low interest rate environment, the downward trend in inflation, and strong peso and international reserves provide an encouraging environment for investment in Philippines. The Philippine government plans to spend 4.45 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to finance the Comprehensive Integrated Infrastructure Program 2006-2010, brining the Philippines closer to the 5 percent ratio for neighboring countries.

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Philippines' Money-Machine to Slow Down Sharply Next Year

The Philippines' moneymaking machine is expected to slow down sharply next year due to the fact that emittances by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will only increase by a single digit. OFW money has fueled private consumption spending, which remains the main driver of the country's economic expansion. Remittance inflows have been posting double-digit growth for the past few years, despite a slowdown in the deployment of OFWs. For this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) forecasts remittances to grow by 9 percent, a drop from the 15 percent expansion seen last year.

The Philippines' moneymaking machine is expected to slow down sharply next year due to the fact that emittances by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will only increase by a single digit. OFW money has fueled private consumption spending, which remains the main driver of the country's economic expansion. Remittance inflows have been posting double-digit growth for the past few years, despite a slowdown in the deployment of OFWs. For this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) forecasts remittances to grow by 9 percent, a drop from the 15 percent expansion seen last year.

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philippines

Philippines' Economy Grew At Fastest Pace In Three Quarters

The Philippine economy probably grew in the first quarter at the fastest pace in nine months as money sent home from nationals working abroad buoyed consumer spending and exports to China soared. The USD 117 billion Southeast Asian economy expanded 5.7 percent from a year earlier, up from 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the median forecast of 14 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Adjusted growth from the previous quarter was likely 1.4 percent.

The Philippine economy probably grew in the first quarter at the fastest pace in nine months as money sent home from nationals working abroad buoyed consumer spending and exports to China soared. The USD 117 billion Southeast Asian economy expanded 5.7 percent from a year earlier, up from 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the median forecast of 14 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Adjusted growth from the previous quarter was likely 1.4 percent.

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Chinese Company Offers Sweetener For Philippines’ National Broadband Network

ZTE, the pioneer of China's telecommunications equipment manufacturing industry, has obtained a contract from the Philippine government to build the PHP16.47 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) project, which aims to create seamless connectivity from all national government agencies down to the village offices of local government units, enhancing delivery of government services. The project is also expected to result in telecommunication and travel savings.

ZTE, the pioneer of China's telecommunications equipment manufacturing industry, has obtained a contract from the Philippine government to build the PHP16.47 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) project, which aims to create seamless connectivity from all national government agencies down to the village offices of local government units, enhancing delivery of government services. The project is also expected to result in telecommunication and travel savings.

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philippines

Strong Peso Softens Impact of Increasing World Oil Prices in Philippines

With hefty increases in the price of oil in the international market for the last couple of months, the peso's recent strength is helping mitigate the rise in pump prices. Dubai crude, the Philippines' benchmark for the commodity, averaged USD64.54 per barrel this month, compared with USD63.97 in April. Meanwhile, a US dollar costs an average PHP46.95 this month, from PHP47.82 in April.

With hefty increases in the price of oil in the international market for the last couple of months, the peso's recent strength is helping mitigate the rise in pump prices. Dubai crude, the Philippines' benchmark for the commodity, averaged USD64.54 per barrel this month, compared with USD63.97 in April. Meanwhile, a US dollar costs an average PHP46.95 this month, from PHP47.82 in April.

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philippines

No Mining Boom In Philippine Until Next Year

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) predicts the mining sector in the Philippines to contribute more to the country's exports and economic output next year. The mining sector will start to boom by next year as foreign companies pour more investment in the country. Dennis M. Arroyo, NEDA's planning and policy director, said the mining investments would rise to $1.6 billion next year from $348 million this year.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) predicts the mining sector in the Philippines to contribute more to the country's exports and economic output next year. The mining sector will start to boom by next year as foreign companies pour more investment in the country. Dennis M. Arroyo, NEDA's planning and policy director, said the mining investments would rise to $1.6 billion next year from $348 million this year.

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philippines

Philippines Government Would Borrow More If Tax Collections Fall Behind

The Philippine government ended the first quarter with a bigger budget deficit after the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureaus of Customs (BOC) failed to meet their collection targets. The Bureau of Treasury said that the Philippine government would borrow more this year to make up for the revenue shortfalls of the BIR and of BOC.

 

The Philippine government ended the first quarter with a bigger budget deficit after the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureaus of Customs (BOC) failed to meet their collection targets. The Bureau of Treasury said that the Philippine government would borrow more this year to make up for the revenue shortfalls of the BIR and of BOC.

 

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philippines

Electricity Use In Philippines Seen Picking Up This Year

The president of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Jesus Francisco, said power distribution sales would increase by 2.5 percent this year because of a projected growth in demand from industrial and residential customers. The electricity use is seen picking up this year on the back of the Philippine economy's expansion.

The president of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Jesus Francisco, said power distribution sales would increase by 2.5 percent this year because of a projected growth in demand from industrial and residential customers. The electricity use is seen picking up this year on the back of the Philippine economy's expansion.

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Philippines: Arroyo Visit Secures $1 Billion in Japanese Investments

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived in the Philippines Friday afternoon from her four-day visit to Japan, bringing home with her well over $1 billion worth of investments, the majority of which are in the mining sector. The largest investment secured by Arroyo's trip is Sumitomo Metals Mining Co. Ltd. investment into the Surigao del Norte province's nickel mining industry, which is estimated to be worth somewhere between $1 billion and $1.2 billion.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived in the Philippines Friday afternoon from her four-day visit to Japan, bringing home with her well over $1 billion worth of investments, the majority of which are in the mining sector. The largest investment secured by Arroyo's trip is Sumitomo Metals Mining Co. Ltd. investment into the Surigao del Norte province's nickel mining industry, which is estimated to be worth somewhere between $1 billion and $1.2 billion.

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philippines

Businessmen Bullish On Third Quarter Philippine Economic Prospects

The BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas') said that traders continued to have an optimistic view of macroeconomic conditions in the second quarter, with the confidence index at 46.4 percent, a 14.8 percentage point increase from a year ago. For the third quarter, the index registered a 44.7 percent confidence level, 12 percentage points higher than a year ago.

The BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas') said that traders continued to have an optimistic view of macroeconomic conditions in the second quarter, with the confidence index at 46.4 percent, a 14.8 percentage point increase from a year ago. For the third quarter, the index registered a 44.7 percent confidence level, 12 percentage points higher than a year ago.

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Philippines Registers Visible Trade Deficit In March

The Philippines registered a visible trade deficit in March after recording trade surpluses in January and February. During January to March, imports grew by 7.1 percent and exports increased by 12.0 percent, resulting in a visible trade surplus of $181.0 million.

 

The Philippines registered a visible trade deficit in March after recording trade surpluses in January and February. During January to March, imports grew by 7.1 percent and exports increased by 12.0 percent, resulting in a visible trade surplus of $181.0 million.

 

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philippines

Philippine Tax Amnesty Bill Lapses Into Law

By giving neither a signature nor a veto, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo allowed the country's tax amnesty bill to lapse into law 30 days after it was sent to her. The law's goal is to encourage tax delinquents to come clean regarding their assets and income so that, in the future, the size of the tax base can be increased. Critics warn that the amnesty encourages delinquent behavior and reduces government revenue derived from collecting outstanding taxes.

By giving neither a signature nor a veto, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo allowed the country's tax amnesty bill to lapse into law 30 days after it was sent to her. The law's goal is to encourage tax delinquents to come clean regarding their assets and income so that, in the future, the size of the tax base can be increased. Critics warn that the amnesty encourages delinquent behavior and reduces government revenue derived from collecting outstanding taxes.

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Regional Bond Markets in Philippines Get Boost from ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced Wednesday that it will issue local currency bonds in the Philippines for the second time since 2005, which it will issue as five-year peso-denominated bonds worth $106.4 million. The 5.23 percent fixed rate bonds reflect the ADB's confidence in Philippine capital markets, and are another progressive milestone for the bank, which has issued local currency bonds in India, Malaysia, China, and Thailand as well.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced Wednesday that it will issue local currency bonds in the Philippines for the second time since 2005, which it will issue as five-year peso-denominated bonds worth $106.4 million. The 5.23 percent fixed rate bonds reflect the ADB's confidence in Philippine capital markets, and are another progressive milestone for the bank, which has issued local currency bonds in India, Malaysia, China, and Thailand as well.

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philippines

Philippine Investment Commitments Increase Two-Fold

In the first four months of this year, the Philippines' two major investment agencies have reported total pledges through April of P73.33 billion, an increase of 194% over the P24.92 billion in commitments during the same period last year. The majority of investments were made in manufacturing, housing, power generation, and information technology. Foreign investment accounted for 58% of the total, coming primarily from the US, Japan and the Netherlands.

In the first four months of this year, the Philippines' two major investment agencies have reported total pledges through April of P73.33 billion, an increase of 194% over the P24.92 billion in commitments during the same period last year. The majority of investments were made in manufacturing, housing, power generation, and information technology. Foreign investment accounted for 58% of the total, coming primarily from the US, Japan and the Netherlands.

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Philippine Industries Selected for Investment Incentives

President Gloria Arroyo has approved the 2007 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), which targets twelve sectors for special tax and non-fiscal perks to encourage investment. The IPP is intended to support industries where there is seen potential for growth and to encourage companies to remain in the country. Fiscal incentives include income tax holidays, and deductions for labor expenses or infrastructure among others. Non-fiscal incentives include the employment of foreign nationals, simplified registration procedures, and protection of investments from repatriation or expropriation among others.

President Gloria Arroyo has approved the 2007 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), which targets twelve sectors for special tax and non-fiscal perks to encourage investment. The IPP is intended to support industries where there is seen potential for growth and to encourage companies to remain in the country. Fiscal incentives include income tax holidays, and deductions for labor expenses or infrastructure among others. Non-fiscal incentives include the employment of foreign nationals, simplified registration procedures, and protection of investments from repatriation or expropriation among others.

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philippines

Philippine Officials Give Bullish Outlook

20-year low inflation rates, 6-year highs in the peso, declining fiscal deficits and external debt have all contributed to two top Philippine officials offering a confident perspective on the economy. The strong peso has both aided in stabilizing prices and effectively reduced the cost of servicing the external debt. Officials expect the fiscal deficit to continue to decline until a balance is reached in 2008 despite increased spending on infrastructure and social services. Future growth is expected to be fueled by credit growth due to low interest rates and future growth in the mining sector.

20-year low inflation rates, 6-year highs in the peso, declining fiscal deficits and external debt have all contributed to two top Philippine officials offering a confident perspective on the economy. The strong peso has both aided in stabilizing prices and effectively reduced the cost of servicing the external debt. Officials expect the fiscal deficit to continue to decline until a balance is reached in 2008 despite increased spending on infrastructure and social services. Future growth is expected to be fueled by credit growth due to low interest rates and future growth in the mining sector.

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Philippine Government to Respond to Infrastructure Deterioration

JP Morgan has reported that the quality of Philippine infrastructure has declined over the last two years with infrastructure investment averaging less than 2 percent of GDP. The government plans to increase infrastructure investment to 4 percent by spending P1.7 trillion ($36.6 billion) over the next four years. Funding will come from value-added tax collections, and JP Morgan's report is optimistic that stronger political will and available funding will lead to successful programs.

JP Morgan has reported that the quality of Philippine infrastructure has declined over the last two years with infrastructure investment averaging less than 2 percent of GDP. The government plans to increase infrastructure investment to 4 percent by spending P1.7 trillion ($36.6 billion) over the next four years. Funding will come from value-added tax collections, and JP Morgan's report is optimistic that stronger political will and available funding will lead to successful programs.

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Philippines Fails To Earn S&P's Vote of Confidence

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services announced Friday evening that it has decided to maintain its current below-investment ratings following the Philippines' failure to meet revenue-collection targets for the first quarter. These ratings are likely to be maintained over the next six months to a year, and could improve or decline if pending fiscal reform bills pass or stall in the new Congress. The rating reflects both the government's positive fiscal reforms and the continued uncertainty over the revenue base's ability to fund future capital spending.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services announced Friday evening that it has decided to maintain its current below-investment ratings following the Philippines' failure to meet revenue-collection targets for the first quarter. These ratings are likely to be maintained over the next six months to a year, and could improve or decline if pending fiscal reform bills pass or stall in the new Congress. The rating reflects both the government's positive fiscal reforms and the continued uncertainty over the revenue base's ability to fund future capital spending.

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philippines

ILO Urges ASEAN Members to Boost Productivity Growth

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

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Philippines: Arroyo Pledges to Encourage Foreign Investment

Despite a death toll of over 100 and claims of voter fraud, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is confident that emerging results from the mid-term elections are supportive of the government's economic policies. Insisting that there will be political stability, Arroyo pledged to upgrade infrastructure and dispel legal barriers in order to lure foreign investment to the Philippines. Much of this would involve amendments to the nation's constitution, which would allow foreign capital in a number of currently restricted areas.

Despite a death toll of over 100 and claims of voter fraud, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is confident that emerging results from the mid-term elections are supportive of the government's economic policies. Insisting that there will be political stability, Arroyo pledged to upgrade infrastructure and dispel legal barriers in order to lure foreign investment to the Philippines. Much of this would involve amendments to the nation's constitution, which would allow foreign capital in a number of currently restricted areas.

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philippines

Philippine Economy Grows Modestly in First Quarter

According to the announcement of an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine economy is supposed to have expanded modestly between 5.3 and 6.1 percent in the first quarter of this year. This development was supported by election-related spending and the service sector, in particular by telecommunications, trade, property and tourism. An official statement addressing the issue of economic growth is expected to be published May 31.

According to the announcement of an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine economy is supposed to have expanded modestly between 5.3 and 6.1 percent in the first quarter of this year. This development was supported by election-related spending and the service sector, in particular by telecommunications, trade, property and tourism. An official statement addressing the issue of economic growth is expected to be published May 31.

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philippines

Trans-Asia Oil Steps Up Renewable Energy Efforts in Philippines

Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. has begun testing in the Guimaras province as a part of its plan to construct a major wind farm in the Philippines. Along with potential investments in alternative fuels such as jathropa biodiesel, the energy subsidiary of the Phinma group hopes the move will help them in securing carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol's emissions trading quotas.

Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. has begun testing in the Guimaras province as a part of its plan to construct a major wind farm in the Philippines. Along with potential investments in alternative fuels such as jathropa biodiesel, the energy subsidiary of the Phinma group hopes the move will help them in securing carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol's emissions trading quotas.

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philippines

Philippines increase FDI by 33.5%

In the first two months of this year, foreign direct investment in the Philippines have amounted up to a total of $633 million, turning out to be a rise of 33.5% in comparison to the same period last year. The major sources of the FDI throughout that period have been from the U.S., Japan, and Singapore.

In the first two months of this year, foreign direct investment in the Philippines have amounted up to a total of $633 million, turning out to be a rise of 33.5% in comparison to the same period last year. The major sources of the FDI throughout that period have been from the U.S., Japan, and Singapore.

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philippines

ASEAN+3 Agree to Establish Foreign Reserves Pool

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

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philippines

Philippines to Strengthen Economic Relations with Taiwan

The Philippine government reports further progress on the Kaohsiung-Subic Bay-Clark economic corridor, linking three economic and export process zones and allowing easier product and manpower movement. Due to the long and harmonious trade relation between Philippines and Taiwan, the establishment of the corridor could not only resolve some of the issues that have concerned Taiwanese companies, but also create a win-win situation for both countries involved.

The Philippine government reports further progress on the Kaohsiung-Subic Bay-Clark economic corridor, linking three economic and export process zones and allowing easier product and manpower movement. Due to the long and harmonious trade relation between Philippines and Taiwan, the establishment of the corridor could not only resolve some of the issues that have concerned Taiwanese companies, but also create a win-win situation for both countries involved.

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philippines

ASEAN-EU Launch Free Trade Negotiations

Free trade negotiations were launched by Southeast Asian states and the European Union. The agreement was made when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson reached an agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AESEAN) economic ministers. The ASEAN-EU free trade zone will cover one billion people and will be one of the largest free trade zones in the world.

Free trade negotiations were launched by Southeast Asian states and the European Union. The agreement was made when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson reached an agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AESEAN) economic ministers. The ASEAN-EU free trade zone will cover one billion people and will be one of the largest free trade zones in the world.

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philippines

Texas Instruments Invests $1 Billion in Philippines

Philippines win the fierce competition with neighboring countries and receive $1 billion, the "single biggest investment" by a foreign firm. Texas Instruments Inc. which is the world's largest mobile phone chips maker, plans to build a second plant in the country, which would manufacture more complex products than the already existing plant and will create nearly 3,000 jobs.

Philippines win the fierce competition with neighboring countries and receive $1 billion, the "single biggest investment" by a foreign firm. Texas Instruments Inc. which is the world's largest mobile phone chips maker, plans to build a second plant in the country, which would manufacture more complex products than the already existing plant and will create nearly 3,000 jobs.

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philippines

Booming Property Market in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the property market is experiencing a major boom. The increasing demand in office space and condominiums has resulted from a rise in outsourcing within the Philippines, in addition to the purchasing power of their workers overseas.

In the Philippines, the property market is experiencing a major boom. The increasing demand in office space and condominiums has resulted from a rise in outsourcing within the Philippines, in addition to the purchasing power of their workers overseas.

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philippines

Philippine Software Companies Watch Japanese IT Market

Due to a projected growth of up to eight percent in Japan's outsourced software development market, Philippine software companies would rely on their proven track record, adaptability and ability to impress the Japanese and try to win over the competition with China's and India's companies.

Due to a projected growth of up to eight percent in Japan's outsourced software development market, Philippine software companies would rely on their proven track record, adaptability and ability to impress the Japanese and try to win over the competition with China's and India's companies.

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philippines

Philippines Set up Economic Zones for Agricultural Business

In order to increase more avenues to efficiently utilize land, the government is considering to build agriculture economic zones. Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila states that these investment zones might be similar to existing special economic zones but there would be a different set of incentives to attract local and foreign investors.

In order to increase more avenues to efficiently utilize land, the government is considering to build agriculture economic zones. Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila states that these investment zones might be similar to existing special economic zones but there would be a different set of incentives to attract local and foreign investors.

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philippines

Asian Financial Chiefs Meet to Discuss Financial Cooperation

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

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philippines

Philippines Vulnerable to Currency Crisis

The Philippines and three other Asian nations hit hard by 1997-98 financial crisis face renewed vulnerability to sudden outflows that could cause a currency crisis. Despite the rapid economic growth of the region, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines have recently shown some cracks in their economies that should be closely monitored.

The Philippines and three other Asian nations hit hard by 1997-98 financial crisis face renewed vulnerability to sudden outflows that could cause a currency crisis. Despite the rapid economic growth of the region, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines have recently shown some cracks in their economies that should be closely monitored.

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philippines

ASEAN Regional Financial System to be Established

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

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philippines

T-bills Rates Rise in the Philippines

Slight increases on the interest rates of 91-day and 182-day Treasury bills were allowed as the goverment made its issuance of one-year notes. The 91-day T-bill rate averaged at 2.952% from 2.860% and the 182-day T-bill rate went up to 3.560% from 3.5089%.

Slight increases on the interest rates of 91-day and 182-day Treasury bills were allowed as the goverment made its issuance of one-year notes. The 91-day T-bill rate averaged at 2.952% from 2.860% and the 182-day T-bill rate went up to 3.560% from 3.5089%.

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philippines

Net Foreign Portfolio Investments Surge in First Quarter

Net foreign portfolio investments went up 71 percent to $838 million in the first three months of 2007. This was well more than the $490 million made in the same period last year, exhibiting a positive investor sentiment on the economy. This can be attributed to the appreciation of the peso against the dollar, as many profit-taking opportunities arose for the investors.


Net foreign portfolio investments went up 71 percent to $838 million in the first three months of 2007. This was well more than the $490 million made in the same period last year, exhibiting a positive investor sentiment on the economy. This can be attributed to the appreciation of the peso against the dollar, as many profit-taking opportunities arose for the investors.


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philippines

RP's Hot Money up 58%

Foreign portfolio investments, also known as hot money, yielded a net inflow of $665 million in the first two months of the year, up 58 percent in the same period last year. The central bank attributed the increase in hot money investments to the positive sentiment on the country. Hot money includes investments in the stock market, money market and peso deposits.

Foreign portfolio investments, also known as hot money, yielded a net inflow of $665 million in the first two months of the year, up 58 percent in the same period last year. The central bank attributed the increase in hot money investments to the positive sentiment on the country. Hot money includes investments in the stock market, money market and peso deposits.

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philippines

Philippines' Unemployment Rate Down

The Philippines' unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in January from 8.1 percent a year ago. According to the National Statistics Office, the labor force in January was up by 1.2 million from a year earlier to 36.4 million. A government official said that improvement in labor force is attributed to the recovery of the industry and the continued strong performance of the service sector.

The Philippines' unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in January from 8.1 percent a year ago. According to the National Statistics Office, the labor force in January was up by 1.2 million from a year earlier to 36.4 million. A government official said that improvement in labor force is attributed to the recovery of the industry and the continued strong performance of the service sector.

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philippines

Inflation Continues to Plunge in the Phillipines

The headline inflation rate plunged to 2.6 percent in February from 3.9 percent the previous month as annual price increments remained low for all major commodity groups. The core inflation rate also dropped to 3.0 percent last month from 3.9 percent in January. The drop indicated limited demand-based pressures on consumer prices. The level of consumer prices went down by 0.1 percent. "The decline both in food and non-food inflation is a reflection of the continued strengthening of the peso against the U.S. dollar," the National Economic and Development (NEDA) Director noted. Moreover, deliveries for such commodities have exceeded the required amount necessary for consumer purchases, therefore dropping inflation to its lowest rate since December of 2002.

The headline inflation rate plunged to 2.6 percent in February from 3.9 percent the previous month as annual price increments remained low for all major commodity groups. The core inflation rate also dropped to 3.0 percent last month from 3.9 percent in January. The drop indicated limited demand-based pressures on consumer prices. The level of consumer prices went down by 0.1 percent. "The decline both in food and non-food inflation is a reflection of the continued strengthening of the peso against the U.S. dollar," the National Economic and Development (NEDA) Director noted. Moreover, deliveries for such commodities have exceeded the required amount necessary for consumer purchases, therefore dropping inflation to its lowest rate since December of 2002.

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philippines

Philippines' Property Demand May Trump Supply

A recent surge in corporate demand has caused a tremendous increase in the demand for property in the Philippines. Now, some Manila-based property analysts believe that downtown demand will soon outpace supply. Expectations are causing predictions of a 20% increase in rents across the entire property sector for the year 2007. Analysts are also expecting many more construction projects, as developers expect the boom to be sustainable for a long period of time.

A recent surge in corporate demand has caused a tremendous increase in the demand for property in the Philippines. Now, some Manila-based property analysts believe that downtown demand will soon outpace supply. Expectations are causing predictions of a 20% increase in rents across the entire property sector for the year 2007. Analysts are also expecting many more construction projects, as developers expect the boom to be sustainable for a long period of time.

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philippines

RP's Coffee Exports Brought In Revenues

Coffee exports have brought in increased revenues for the Philippine government. The DTI-International Coffee Organization Certifying Agency reported that the coffee industry has raked in a total of $17,772,123 in export revenues for the 2002-2006 period. A total of 17 accredited exporters delivered last year's exports to 19 destinations.

Coffee exports have brought in increased revenues for the Philippine government. The DTI-International Coffee Organization Certifying Agency reported that the coffee industry has raked in a total of $17,772,123 in export revenues for the 2002-2006 period. A total of 17 accredited exporters delivered last year's exports to 19 destinations.

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philippines

Emerging Stock Markets Surge Back

The MCSI index of emerging market stocks rose yesterday for the first time since tumbling 10% last week. Indices in China, Malaysia, and the Philippines rose 2.7%, 2.3%, and 3% respectively. The surges came on the heals of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announcing that global economic growth is 'solid.'

The MCSI index of emerging market stocks rose yesterday for the first time since tumbling 10% last week. Indices in China, Malaysia, and the Philippines rose 2.7%, 2.3%, and 3% respectively. The surges came on the heals of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announcing that global economic growth is 'solid.'

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philippines

RP's Inflation Rate at 4-Year Low

Consumer price inflation for February was 2.6 percent, the slowest rate in more than four years. According to analysts, this figure could fuel rate-cutting by the central bank, thus lowering the cost of capital and boosting businesses. In the same month last year, inflation rate was 7.6 percent.

Consumer price inflation for February was 2.6 percent, the slowest rate in more than four years. According to analysts, this figure could fuel rate-cutting by the central bank, thus lowering the cost of capital and boosting businesses. In the same month last year, inflation rate was 7.6 percent.

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philippines

APEC's Free Trade Area Woes

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

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philippines

Asian Markets Fall Again After Rebound

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

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philippines

Philippine Stocks Plunge

Philippine share prices plunged 7.92 percent Wednesday as the Asian markets tumbled. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index tumbled 263.84 points or 7.9 percent to 3,067.45, its weakest since January 17. According to PSE, it was the biggest points decline since Feb. 28 1990, when the Makati and Manila stock exchanges adopted a new method in computing the index. The decline can be due to the sell-offs on the US and China markets.

Philippine share prices plunged 7.92 percent Wednesday as the Asian markets tumbled. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index tumbled 263.84 points or 7.9 percent to 3,067.45, its weakest since January 17. According to PSE, it was the biggest points decline since Feb. 28 1990, when the Makati and Manila stock exchanges adopted a new method in computing the index. The decline can be due to the sell-offs on the US and China markets.

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The State of Labor Migration in Southeast Asia

The migration of people to other countries in search of employment has occurred throughout history, and is by no means a new occurrence. This phenomenon has become especially prevalent in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines for instance, human resources is the main export. In year 2000, more than 1 million Filipinos left home to seek work abroad as sailors, maids, nurses, and in other low-paying jobs.1 More and more South-east Asians have become wandering workers, moving out of their countries to work for their better-off neighbors.

The Case of the Philippines

Many overseas workers eventually return to their home countries—but not before sending home substantial sums. In the case of the Philippines, remittances from abroad account for over 10% of its GDP, enough to compensate for the opportunity cost of having over 8 million of its best and brightest workers abroad. From January to November of 2006, remittances summed to $11.4 billion, up 18% from the same period during 2005.2 This does not include the wads of cash returning in workers' luggage. Although poverty and unemployment are still a source of serious concern in the Philippines and many other labor-exporting countries, their situation would be far worse if the outflow of bodies and immense inflow of capital did not occur.

Labor Migration in South East Asia

Out of the ten ASEAN countries, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia export labor while Singapore and Brunei import it. The UN's International Labor Organization believes that the total labor force of the worker exporting countries should grow by about a third within the next ten years. However, labor migration, both legal and illegal, is growing twice as fast. A 2005 study estimated that over 8.4 million Southeast Asians worked outside their home country.3 This figure fails to include the large number of illegal and undocumented workers. To combat the growing problem of illegal and undocumented workers, the leaders of ASEAN met on January 13th and signed an agreement to aid and regulate migrant workers. Although the agreement is full of loopholes, it is a first step for governments to guarantee workers' rights and welfare services.4

Negative Reception by the Locals

Labor-importing nations are terrified that attempts to improve immigrant circumstances will only encourage more masses to enter their countries. Competition for jobs is creating a negative response to the establishment of welfare structures for immigrant workers in these nations. Malaysians believe that foreign workers have worsened crime rates. Additionally, over 59% of Thais believe that their government should stop admitting foreign workers, and even in Singapore, over half of the population opposes more foreign workers.5

Conclusion

Opinions might change if the public receives a more balanced picture of the pros and cons of importing labor to do the jobs that none of the locals would ever consider taking. Locals need to realize that their economies are dependent on the foreign workers for stability. These large migrations should not be thought of as a transient or temporary phenomenon. Labor receiving countries should attempt to formulate a suitable migration policy based on longer run considerations of their labor market needs and the basic human rights of migrant workers rather than ad hoc decisions. Incentives and taxes may be levied on enterprises to discourage the perpetuation of unproductive non-competitive industries based on cheap unskilled foreign workers. At the same time, migrant-exporting countries should attempt to reduce undue dependence on overseas employment through efforts to reduce labor-outflow pressure at home. It is a delicate balance that Southeast Asia has yet to strike.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

The migration of people to other countries in search of employment has occurred throughout history, and is by no means a new occurrence. This phenomenon has become especially prevalent in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines for instance, human resources is the main export. In year 2000, more than 1 million Filipinos left home to seek work abroad as sailors, maids, nurses, and in other low-paying jobs.1 More and more South-east Asians have become wandering workers, moving out of their countries to work for their better-off neighbors.

The Case of the Philippines

Many overseas workers eventually return to their home countries—but not before sending home substantial sums. In the case of the Philippines, remittances from abroad account for over 10% of its GDP, enough to compensate for the opportunity cost of having over 8 million of its best and brightest workers abroad. From January to November of 2006, remittances summed to $11.4 billion, up 18% from the same period during 2005.2 This does not include the wads of cash returning in workers' luggage. Although poverty and unemployment are still a source of serious concern in the Philippines and many other labor-exporting countries, their situation would be far worse if the outflow of bodies and immense inflow of capital did not occur.

Labor Migration in South East Asia

Out of the ten ASEAN countries, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia export labor while Singapore and Brunei import it. The UN's International Labor Organization believes that the total labor force of the worker exporting countries should grow by about a third within the next ten years. However, labor migration, both legal and illegal, is growing twice as fast. A 2005 study estimated that over 8.4 million Southeast Asians worked outside their home country.3 This figure fails to include the large number of illegal and undocumented workers. To combat the growing problem of illegal and undocumented workers, the leaders of ASEAN met on January 13th and signed an agreement to aid and regulate migrant workers. Although the agreement is full of loopholes, it is a first step for governments to guarantee workers' rights and welfare services.4

Negative Reception by the Locals

Labor-importing nations are terrified that attempts to improve immigrant circumstances will only encourage more masses to enter their countries. Competition for jobs is creating a negative response to the establishment of welfare structures for immigrant workers in these nations. Malaysians believe that foreign workers have worsened crime rates. Additionally, over 59% of Thais believe that their government should stop admitting foreign workers, and even in Singapore, over half of the population opposes more foreign workers.5

Conclusion

Opinions might change if the public receives a more balanced picture of the pros and cons of importing labor to do the jobs that none of the locals would ever consider taking. Locals need to realize that their economies are dependent on the foreign workers for stability. These large migrations should not be thought of as a transient or temporary phenomenon. Labor receiving countries should attempt to formulate a suitable migration policy based on longer run considerations of their labor market needs and the basic human rights of migrant workers rather than ad hoc decisions. Incentives and taxes may be levied on enterprises to discourage the perpetuation of unproductive non-competitive industries based on cheap unskilled foreign workers. At the same time, migrant-exporting countries should attempt to reduce undue dependence on overseas employment through efforts to reduce labor-outflow pressure at home. It is a delicate balance that Southeast Asia has yet to strike.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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philippines

The Asian Stock Markets: Boom or Bust?

The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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philippines

President Says Political Uprising Bad for RP Image

President Arroyo called for national unity at a ceremony that marked the anniversary of the 1986 revolt that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She said that more uprisings would only damage the international image of the Philippines and draw more criticism. She hopes that the nation's citizens can unite and support the government, which will lead to economic recovery and improvement.

President Arroyo called for national unity at a ceremony that marked the anniversary of the 1986 revolt that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She said that more uprisings would only damage the international image of the Philippines and draw more criticism. She hopes that the nation's citizens can unite and support the government, which will lead to economic recovery and improvement.

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philippines

Large Mining Firms Invest in Asia

The world's largest and third-largest mining companies announced dual projects to develop nickel mining operations in Indonesia and the Philippines repsectively. Rio Tinto Group announced plans to invest $2 billion to develop its first nickel project in Indonesia while BHP Bilton Ltd. announced plans to invest $1.5 billion in a nickel project in the Philippines. Both moves come as worldwide nickel prices soar due to increased demand primarily from China.

The world's largest and third-largest mining companies announced dual projects to develop nickel mining operations in Indonesia and the Philippines repsectively. Rio Tinto Group announced plans to invest $2 billion to develop its first nickel project in Indonesia while BHP Bilton Ltd. announced plans to invest $1.5 billion in a nickel project in the Philippines. Both moves come as worldwide nickel prices soar due to increased demand primarily from China.

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philippines

Philippines to Borrow from World Bank, ADB

The Philippine government will borrow a large amount of money from both the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) this year to fund infrastructure projects and social services. The government is eyeing $835-million in loan assistance from World Bank's Country Strategy Program to fund the country's water-supply projects, transport, financial sectors, irrigations, road and agrarian reforms. Additionally, the government also plans to borrow about $767 million from Asian Development Country Assistance Strategy to fund urban services, health sector, agrarian reform, intermodal transport, budget support, and judicial reforms.

The Philippine government will borrow a large amount of money from both the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) this year to fund infrastructure projects and social services. The government is eyeing $835-million in loan assistance from World Bank's Country Strategy Program to fund the country's water-supply projects, transport, financial sectors, irrigations, road and agrarian reforms. Additionally, the government also plans to borrow about $767 million from Asian Development Country Assistance Strategy to fund urban services, health sector, agrarian reform, intermodal transport, budget support, and judicial reforms.

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philippines

RP's President Seeks Support to Improve Economy

President Arroyo asked Cebuanos to support the senatorial slate (TEAM unity) which will help achieve growth in the economy. She stressed that the Nation's Agenda would focus on anti-terrorism, better education, more employment etc. She also expressed her thanks for the past support from Cebu in the previous election of 2004.

President Arroyo asked Cebuanos to support the senatorial slate (TEAM unity) which will help achieve growth in the economy. She stressed that the Nation's Agenda would focus on anti-terrorism, better education, more employment etc. She also expressed her thanks for the past support from Cebu in the previous election of 2004.

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philippines

Asian Markets Close with Mixed Results

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

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philippines

Filipino Workers Send Home $12.8 Billion

Remittances, money sent home by filipinos working overseas, totaled $12.8 billion in 2006, an all-time high. The Philippines has over 8 million workers outside of the country and they're expected to send home $14.1 billion in 2007. Itis the fifth largest recipient of remittances in the world.

Remittances, money sent home by filipinos working overseas, totaled $12.8 billion in 2006, an all-time high. The Philippines has over 8 million workers outside of the country and they're expected to send home $14.1 billion in 2007. Itis the fifth largest recipient of remittances in the world.

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philippines

Philippine Bourse Close at Highest Level in Nearly 10 Years

Philippine share prices closed at the highest level in nearly 10 years on Wednesday after Wall Street's rally encouraged investors to continue purchasing select blue chip stocks. Gainers outnumbered losers 83 to 48. Meanwhile, the peso was at P48.47 against the dollar. The biggest winner was Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) gaining P80 to P2,565.

Philippine share prices closed at the highest level in nearly 10 years on Wednesday after Wall Street's rally encouraged investors to continue purchasing select blue chip stocks. Gainers outnumbered losers 83 to 48. Meanwhile, the peso was at P48.47 against the dollar. The biggest winner was Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) gaining P80 to P2,565.

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philippines

Philippines to Increase Generic Drug Imports

The Philippine government plans to increase the importation of generic drugs more than threefold to encourage more drugstores to sell inexpensive medicines. The aim of this plan is to attract more entrepreneurs and pharmacists to put up their own drugstores. The Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) Chairman Roberto Pagdanganan said that they plan to increase the number of drugstores to 800 outlets before the year ends.

The Philippine government plans to increase the importation of generic drugs more than threefold to encourage more drugstores to sell inexpensive medicines. The aim of this plan is to attract more entrepreneurs and pharmacists to put up their own drugstores. The Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) Chairman Roberto Pagdanganan said that they plan to increase the number of drugstores to 800 outlets before the year ends.

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philippines

Philippines Hope Bond-Swap Aleviates Debt, Improves Growth in 2007

"The Bureau of the Treasury has announced the terms of its new P50-billion bond swap offer, with the three-year bonds priced at par with a coupon and yield of 5.50 percent, and the five-year bond offered at a discount with a coupon of 5.75 percent and a yield of 5.80 percent." The Bond Swap is part of a major debt consolidation plan. Economists have already indicated that debt reduction could help the Philippines improve on the already brisk GDP growth rate of 5.8%.

"The Bureau of the Treasury has announced the terms of its new P50-billion bond swap offer, with the three-year bonds priced at par with a coupon and yield of 5.50 percent, and the five-year bond offered at a discount with a coupon of 5.75 percent and a yield of 5.80 percent." The Bond Swap is part of a major debt consolidation plan. Economists have already indicated that debt reduction could help the Philippines improve on the already brisk GDP growth rate of 5.8%.

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philippines

Philippine Gov't. Estimates to Lose P15B/year on Tourism Perks

The Department of Finance estimated that the Philippine government would lose up to P15 billion every year in foregone revenues if Congress approves proposed incentives given to the tourism industry. The proposed incentives include a 12-year income tax holiday to all tourism and tourism-related businesses, and a tax and duty exemption for imported capital equipment. The government agency further stated that there would be even bigger revenue losses depending on the generosity of the rules and regulations.

The Department of Finance estimated that the Philippine government would lose up to P15 billion every year in foregone revenues if Congress approves proposed incentives given to the tourism industry. The proposed incentives include a 12-year income tax holiday to all tourism and tourism-related businesses, and a tax and duty exemption for imported capital equipment. The government agency further stated that there would be even bigger revenue losses depending on the generosity of the rules and regulations.

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philippines

The Rise of Organized Crime in Asia

ORGANIZED CRIME presents a challenge to sustained economic growth for many Asian countries. Cargo theft, piracy, counterfeit currency, and corruption have become more prevalent as the region has developed and become more connected to the global economy. The failure of host governments to curb organized crime has eroded the profitability of investment in the region and seems to have discouraged prospective trade partners. In addition to the economic loss, these elements pose a broader threat as gang revenue has been used to fund terrorist groups and other non-state actors. Given these threats, the business community and host governments must collaborate to address the rise in organized crime.

Types of criminal activity vary widely . Cargo theft has been among the most common. Cargo holds are often poorly secured, and cargo containers poorly sealed. For gangs, cargo theft has proven to be less costly than the drug trade and so offers higher returns. Many former drug smugglers and established gangs have shifted their focus to ports where they siphon off cargo. Sea piracy has been another concern. In fact, Asia has the highest piracy rate worldwide. According to the International Maritime Organization, there were 266 reported cases of piracy in 2005. Southeast Asia accounted for 117 cases.1 Counterfeit currency has recently become another problem. In March 2006, the Chinese government announced an influx of counterfeit American $100 bills. The fake currency was presumably made in North Korea to be sold to Chinese and Taiwanese gangs. North Korea earns approximately $15 to $25 million each year from counterfeit currency.2

Roots of Organized Crime
There are several factors behind the growth of crime syndicates in Asia. Generally speaking, global commerce and the reduction of the state sector have presented an opportunity for criminal elements. Gangs have benefited from the deregulation of the economy. They have often stepped up activity to fill the gap left by a government scale-back.3 Furthermore, e-commerce can not yet be effectively regulated, and the reliance on the Internet as a means of growth poses problems. Gangs have used electronic communications to establish transnational ties, and the current lack of Internet oversight allows these groups to compromise the security of online transactions of legitimate businesses. Many groups have successfully hacked bank systems and online government records.4

Another component which is more specific to Asia concerns the role of labor shortages. The acute need for labor has affected the quality of the Asian workforce. To take the case of Malaysia, the need for manufacturing labor has led companies to employ foreign workers. Up to 75 percent of a factory workforce can be foreign-born.5 Many argue the prevalence of non-native workers has helped erode the quality of the regional workforce. Background checks are extremely lax, and many workers have ties to criminal gangs or come from regions hostile to American and Western business interests.

The linkage between organized crime, host governments, and legitimate businesses are also an important factor. Corruption has become common throughout the region and threatens long-term development. Organized crime has thrived in part because it can operate alongside a legitimate business. Crime exploits, rather than disrupts, a legitimate business.6 Gangs have established extensive contacts with government officials and private business and have integrated themselves with the broader economy. Gang-controlled front businesses have become more common, and many legal groups have acquiesced to gang demands. The longer gangs can operate in such a manner, the harder it will be for governments to disentangle organized crimes from legitimate businesses.

Assessing Threats
There is significant debate as to which country constitutes the greatest threat to the business community. Malaysia and Indonesia were traditionally seen as among the most severe threats. The Malaysian Mamuk gang has been the bane of the Malaysian transport system and has siphoned cargo away from legitimate businesses for over twenty years.7 China has usually been seen as comparatively crime-free and uncorrupt. However, some now argue that the extensive links between the government and Chinese Triads make China the number one threat to foreign businesses.8 Moreover, there seems to be no consensus over which type of criminal activity is most prevalent or most threatening. Asian officials are more likely to see gambling and extortion as more threatening than corruption or human smuggling.

The effects of crime on legitimate business are well documented.-studied. The United States are primarily concerned with the piracy of intellectual property . Many organized crime groups work exclusively with pirated materials. Piracy has undercut profit for players throughout the globe, making investment in the region less likely. Cargo theft and extortion have a similar deterrent effect.
A more general concern has to do with the infiltration of organized crime to legitimate sectors. Most criminal groups want to be seen as legitimate. They foster relationships with government officials and local businesses. The result is corrupt operating environment that is biased against foreign businesses and consumers.

There are several measures companies can take to counteract the effects of organized crime. Risk management firm FirstAdvantage recently conducted a multiyear study to assess the risks of operating in less developed countries.9 The study found the majority of businesses do not take adequate safeguards. Employees are not sufficiently screened hence many workers have maintained contacts to gangs. Many businesses rely on third parties for the storage of inventory, and the use of external groups can expose cargo to gang elements. The study also found many companies often misallocate security spending. Businesses have employed a cookie-cutter approach to security that does not account for differences in criminal activity.

The FirstAdvantage study offers suggestions for those companies that operate in less developed regions. Suggested measures include constant vigilance, extensive employee training to recognize security threats, and a holistic view toward security. FirstAdvantage recommends companies evaluate port security throughout the supply chain. They should become familiar with common gang tactics used during cargo heists. There are several private sector efforts to address the threats of organized crime. The Technology Asset Protection Association includes over 200 multinational corporations and mandates transportation security requirements. TAPA requirements have helped reduce losses through theft by up to 40 percent.10 These ventures help minimize the effects of organized crimes on businesses. But in the long-term, the actions of regional governments will be more important than measures taken by the private sector.

Asian organized crimes remain mostly a regional problem. Regional cooperation at the government level therefore appears to be the most effective defense against organized crimes. Right now, local law enforcement groups have been more focused on traditional criminal activities like prostitution and violence than they are on transnational crimes. But, there have been encouraging first steps towards regional cooperation. Last November, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, and eight other countries signed a treaty to cooperate on anti-piracy measures. The Japanese Coast Guard has agreed to step up patrols, especially in the Malacca Straits, and the Japanese government has pledged to help lead regional efforts against organized crime.11

The private sector should encourage these regulatory measures and pressure governments to take more aggressive stands against organized crimes and corruption. At the government level, the United States and other countries should be more forthcoming toward Asian law enforcement groups, helping them develop effective countermeasures against organized crime. Asian local law enforcement spokesmen have complained that the United States and Western governments do not offer sufficient investment or treat Asian counterparts as equals. Without global cooperation throughout public and private sectors, organized crime will continue to expand.

ORGANIZED CRIME presents a challenge to sustained economic growth for many Asian countries. Cargo theft, piracy, counterfeit currency, and corruption have become more prevalent as the region has developed and become more connected to the global economy. The failure of host governments to curb organized crime has eroded the profitability of investment in the region and seems to have discouraged prospective trade partners. In addition to the economic loss, these elements pose a broader threat as gang revenue has been used to fund terrorist groups and other non-state actors. Given these threats, the business community and host governments must collaborate to address the rise in organized crime.

Types of criminal activity vary widely . Cargo theft has been among the most common. Cargo holds are often poorly secured, and cargo containers poorly sealed. For gangs, cargo theft has proven to be less costly than the drug trade and so offers higher returns. Many former drug smugglers and established gangs have shifted their focus to ports where they siphon off cargo. Sea piracy has been another concern. In fact, Asia has the highest piracy rate worldwide. According to the International Maritime Organization, there were 266 reported cases of piracy in 2005. Southeast Asia accounted for 117 cases.1 Counterfeit currency has recently become another problem. In March 2006, the Chinese government announced an influx of counterfeit American $100 bills. The fake currency was presumably made in North Korea to be sold to Chinese and Taiwanese gangs. North Korea earns approximately $15 to $25 million each year from counterfeit currency.2

Roots of Organized Crime
There are several factors behind the growth of crime syndicates in Asia. Generally speaking, global commerce and the reduction of the state sector have presented an opportunity for criminal elements. Gangs have benefited from the deregulation of the economy. They have often stepped up activity to fill the gap left by a government scale-back.3 Furthermore, e-commerce can not yet be effectively regulated, and the reliance on the Internet as a means of growth poses problems. Gangs have used electronic communications to establish transnational ties, and the current lack of Internet oversight allows these groups to compromise the security of online transactions of legitimate businesses. Many groups have successfully hacked bank systems and online government records.4

Another component which is more specific to Asia concerns the role of labor shortages. The acute need for labor has affected the quality of the Asian workforce. To take the case of Malaysia, the need for manufacturing labor has led companies to employ foreign workers. Up to 75 percent of a factory workforce can be foreign-born.5 Many argue the prevalence of non-native workers has helped erode the quality of the regional workforce. Background checks are extremely lax, and many workers have ties to criminal gangs or come from regions hostile to American and Western business interests.

The linkage between organized crime, host governments, and legitimate businesses are also an important factor. Corruption has become common throughout the region and threatens long-term development. Organized crime has thrived in part because it can operate alongside a legitimate business. Crime exploits, rather than disrupts, a legitimate business.6 Gangs have established extensive contacts with government officials and private business and have integrated themselves with the broader economy. Gang-controlled front businesses have become more common, and many legal groups have acquiesced to gang demands. The longer gangs can operate in such a manner, the harder it will be for governments to disentangle organized crimes from legitimate businesses.

Assessing Threats
There is significant debate as to which country constitutes the greatest threat to the business community. Malaysia and Indonesia were traditionally seen as among the most severe threats. The Malaysian Mamuk gang has been the bane of the Malaysian transport system and has siphoned cargo away from legitimate businesses for over twenty years.7 China has usually been seen as comparatively crime-free and uncorrupt. However, some now argue that the extensive links between the government and Chinese Triads make China the number one threat to foreign businesses.8 Moreover, there seems to be no consensus over which type of criminal activity is most prevalent or most threatening. Asian officials are more likely to see gambling and extortion as more threatening than corruption or human smuggling.

The effects of crime on legitimate business are well documented.-studied. The United States are primarily concerned with the piracy of intellectual property . Many organized crime groups work exclusively with pirated materials. Piracy has undercut profit for players throughout the globe, making investment in the region less likely. Cargo theft and extortion have a similar deterrent effect.
A more general concern has to do with the infiltration of organized crime to legitimate sectors. Most criminal groups want to be seen as legitimate. They foster relationships with government officials and local businesses. The result is corrupt operating environment that is biased against foreign businesses and consumers.

There are several measures companies can take to counteract the effects of organized crime. Risk management firm FirstAdvantage recently conducted a multiyear study to assess the risks of operating in less developed countries.9 The study found the majority of businesses do not take adequate safeguards. Employees are not sufficiently screened hence many workers have maintained contacts to gangs. Many businesses rely on third parties for the storage of inventory, and the use of external groups can expose cargo to gang elements. The study also found many companies often misallocate security spending. Businesses have employed a cookie-cutter approach to security that does not account for differences in criminal activity.

The FirstAdvantage study offers suggestions for those companies that operate in less developed regions. Suggested measures include constant vigilance, extensive employee training to recognize security threats, and a holistic view toward security. FirstAdvantage recommends companies evaluate port security throughout the supply chain. They should become familiar with common gang tactics used during cargo heists. There are several private sector efforts to address the threats of organized crime. The Technology Asset Protection Association includes over 200 multinational corporations and mandates transportation security requirements. TAPA requirements have helped reduce losses through theft by up to 40 percent.10 These ventures help minimize the effects of organized crimes on businesses. But in the long-term, the actions of regional governments will be more important than measures taken by the private sector.

Asian organized crimes remain mostly a regional problem. Regional cooperation at the government level therefore appears to be the most effective defense against organized crimes. Right now, local law enforcement groups have been more focused on traditional criminal activities like prostitution and violence than they are on transnational crimes. But, there have been encouraging first steps towards regional cooperation. Last November, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, and eight other countries signed a treaty to cooperate on anti-piracy measures. The Japanese Coast Guard has agreed to step up patrols, especially in the Malacca Straits, and the Japanese government has pledged to help lead regional efforts against organized crime.11

The private sector should encourage these regulatory measures and pressure governments to take more aggressive stands against organized crimes and corruption. At the government level, the United States and other countries should be more forthcoming toward Asian law enforcement groups, helping them develop effective countermeasures against organized crime. Asian local law enforcement spokesmen have complained that the United States and Western governments do not offer sufficient investment or treat Asian counterparts as equals. Without global cooperation throughout public and private sectors, organized crime will continue to expand.

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philippines

Philippine FDI in 2006 Surpass Five-Year Record

The foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows in the Philippines for the first 11 months of 2006 rose 50.6 percent to $2 billion according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). It surpassed the highest record reached in 2001. The bulk of FDI inflows come from the Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco attributed the significant growth to investors' confidence for the country's solid macroeconomic fundamentals.

The foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows in the Philippines for the first 11 months of 2006 rose 50.6 percent to $2 billion according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). It surpassed the highest record reached in 2001. The bulk of FDI inflows come from the Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco attributed the significant growth to investors' confidence for the country's solid macroeconomic fundamentals.

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philippines

Philippine Economy Stronger but Debt Weighs

The Philippine economy is likely to expand 5.8 percent this year and could be even higher if the government reins in public debt and is able to boost investor confidence and investment through reforms, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday. Public debt remains sensitive to rollover and exchange rate risks and external commercial borrowing requirements, while declining, are still significant, according the IMF's annual health check on the Philippine economy.

The Philippine economy is likely to expand 5.8 percent this year and could be even higher if the government reins in public debt and is able to boost investor confidence and investment through reforms, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday. Public debt remains sensitive to rollover and exchange rate risks and external commercial borrowing requirements, while declining, are still significant, according the IMF's annual health check on the Philippine economy.

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philippines

Emerging Asia’s Growth and Integration - How Autonomous are Business Cycles?

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

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philippines

Regional Development Dynamics and Decentralization in the Philippines: Ten Lessons from a 'Fast Starter'

Spatial disparities, regional dynamics and centre-region relations are the focus of much attention in the developing world, owing to growing analytical and policy interest, concern over deeply entrenched spatial inequality, transitions from economic crises or command economies, and the uneven effects of rapid global integration. Many countries are embarking on major decentralization programs. This paper examines regional dynamics and decentralization with reference to the Philippines, a country well suited to such a study and from which other developing countries can learn lessons. The Philippines initiated a major decentralization program relatively early (1991), and it is one of the most spatially diverse countries in the world. The reforms occurred in the wake of a deep economic crisis, and were accompanied by a major liberalization program.

Spatial disparities, regional dynamics and centre-region relations are the focus of much attention in the developing world, owing to growing analytical and policy interest, concern over deeply entrenched spatial inequality, transitions from economic crises or command economies, and the uneven effects of rapid global integration. Many countries are embarking on major decentralization programs. This paper examines regional dynamics and decentralization with reference to the Philippines, a country well suited to such a study and from which other developing countries can learn lessons. The Philippines initiated a major decentralization program relatively early (1991), and it is one of the most spatially diverse countries in the world. The reforms occurred in the wake of a deep economic crisis, and were accompanied by a major liberalization program.

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philippines

Exchange Rate Pass-Through in ASEAN: Implications for the Prospects of Monetary Integration in the Region

This paper investigates, for the first time, the degree of exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices in all five founding members of ASEAN. For this purpose, a three variable recursive VAR model was applied which uses the Choleski decomposition method along the distribution chain of pricing, using data for the period 1968 to 2001. The results show that a strong case for entering a currency union can only be made for the cases of Singapore and Malaysia as in these countries there appears to be a case of exchange rate disconnect. A case for a common currency can also be made for Indonesia but for entirely different reasons. For this country, an independent monetary policy is a clear source of shocks to the economy and therefore a currency union would tend to eliminate then. A weaker case for a common currency can be made for the Philippines as evidence of some exchange rate pass-through to inflation was found but not to import prices. Finally, Thailand exhibits a clear case of exchange rate pass-through to import prices (but not to inflation) and thus evidence that a flexible exchange rate might be preferable as it provides the means to improve the country's price competitiveness.

This paper investigates, for the first time, the degree of exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices in all five founding members of ASEAN. For this purpose, a three variable recursive VAR model was applied which uses the Choleski decomposition method along the distribution chain of pricing, using data for the period 1968 to 2001. The results show that a strong case for entering a currency union can only be made for the cases of Singapore and Malaysia as in these countries there appears to be a case of exchange rate disconnect. A case for a common currency can also be made for Indonesia but for entirely different reasons. For this country, an independent monetary policy is a clear source of shocks to the economy and therefore a currency union would tend to eliminate then. A weaker case for a common currency can be made for the Philippines as evidence of some exchange rate pass-through to inflation was found but not to import prices. Finally, Thailand exhibits a clear case of exchange rate pass-through to import prices (but not to inflation) and thus evidence that a flexible exchange rate might be preferable as it provides the means to improve the country's price competitiveness.

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philippines

Currency Futures Volatility During the 1997 East Asian Crisis: An Application of Fourier Analysis

We analyze a recently proposed method to estimate volatility and correlation when prices are observed at a high frequency rate. The method is based on Fourier analysis and does not require any data manipulation, leading to more robust estimates than the traditional methodologies proposed so far. In the first part of the paper, we evaluate the performance of the Fourier algorithm to reconstruct the time volatility of simulated univariate and bivariate models. In the second part, the Fourier method is used to investigate the volatility and correlation dynamics of futures markets over the Asian crisis period, with the purpose of detecting possible interdependencies and volatility transmissions across countries amid a period of financial turmoil.

We analyze a recently proposed method to estimate volatility and correlation when prices are observed at a high frequency rate. The method is based on Fourier analysis and does not require any data manipulation, leading to more robust estimates than the traditional methodologies proposed so far. In the first part of the paper, we evaluate the performance of the Fourier algorithm to reconstruct the time volatility of simulated univariate and bivariate models. In the second part, the Fourier method is used to investigate the volatility and correlation dynamics of futures markets over the Asian crisis period, with the purpose of detecting possible interdependencies and volatility transmissions across countries amid a period of financial turmoil.

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Progress toward a Common Currency Basket System in East Asia

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

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philippines

An Empirical Study of Asian Stock Volatility Using Stochastic Volatility Factor Model: Factor Analysis and Forecasting

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

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Real Estate and the Asian Crisis

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

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Monetary and Exchange Rate Stability in South East Asia

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

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Post-crisis Exchange Rate Regimes in ASEAN:A New Empirical Test Based on Intra-daily Data

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what affected the post-crisis exchange rates of three ASEAN countries: Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Our critical departure from previous studies is the use of intra-daily exchange rates. The use of the intra-daily data is useful in removing possible estimation biases which the choice of numeraire may cause. It can also contrast exchange rate movements during the time zone when the government intervention is active with those when the intervention is not active. We examine how and when the ASEAN currencies changed their correlations with the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen. We find significant structural breaks in the correlations during the time zone when East Asian market is open. In the post-crisis period, the first structural break happened when Malaysia adopted the fixed exchange rate and the second break happened when some East Asian countries introduced inflation targeting. The structural breaks suggest strong monetary and real linkages among the ASEAN countries.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what affected the post-crisis exchange rates of three ASEAN countries: Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Our critical departure from previous studies is the use of intra-daily exchange rates. The use of the intra-daily data is useful in removing possible estimation biases which the choice of numeraire may cause. It can also contrast exchange rate movements during the time zone when the government intervention is active with those when the intervention is not active. We examine how and when the ASEAN currencies changed their correlations with the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen. We find significant structural breaks in the correlations during the time zone when East Asian market is open. In the post-crisis period, the first structural break happened when Malaysia adopted the fixed exchange rate and the second break happened when some East Asian countries introduced inflation targeting. The structural breaks suggest strong monetary and real linkages among the ASEAN countries.

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Proposed Rules of Origin in Emerging Asia-Pacific Preferential Trade Agreements: Will PTAs Promote Trade and Development?

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

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philippines

ASEAN Summit Comes to a Close

The 12th association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held at Cebu, Philippines drew to a close yesterday. The North Korean nuclear situation was one of the biggest issues discussed during these meetings. ASEAN is highly involved in the effort to denuclearize North Korea. Also discussed was the idea of economic integration in Southeast Asia and an overall community building in the region. The next ASEAN summit meeting will be held on Nov. 21st in Singapore.

The 12th association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held at Cebu, Philippines drew to a close yesterday. The North Korean nuclear situation was one of the biggest issues discussed during these meetings. ASEAN is highly involved in the effort to denuclearize North Korea. Also discussed was the idea of economic integration in Southeast Asia and an overall community building in the region. The next ASEAN summit meeting will be held on Nov. 21st in Singapore.

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India Expands Trade Ties with ASEAN

India said on Thursday it was close to reaching a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expected to have it wrapped up by July. India, an emerging economy which adopted a free-market policy in the early 1990s, is keen to expand in the global market.

India said on Thursday it was close to reaching a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expected to have it wrapped up by July. India, an emerging economy which adopted a free-market policy in the early 1990s, is keen to expand in the global market.

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philippines

Bomb Explodes South of the Philippines, Threatens Asia Summit

There were bomb explosions in two cities in the south part of the Philippines just few days before the meeting of leaders at the ASEAN summit in Cebu. Philippine officials insisted that there will be no threats in the summit. Official made sure that the host city is safe for everyone. At least six people were reported dead due to the explosion, while 26 were wounded in an explosion that happened around dusk at a crowded market place in Gen. Santos City, a major port south of Cebu. Another bomb also exploded in Kidapawan City, also south of Cebu.

There were bomb explosions in two cities in the south part of the Philippines just few days before the meeting of leaders at the ASEAN summit in Cebu. Philippine officials insisted that there will be no threats in the summit. Official made sure that the host city is safe for everyone. At least six people were reported dead due to the explosion, while 26 were wounded in an explosion that happened around dusk at a crowded market place in Gen. Santos City, a major port south of Cebu. Another bomb also exploded in Kidapawan City, also south of Cebu.

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Understanding the Latest Wave and Future Shape of Regional Trade and Cooperation Agreements in Asia

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

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philippines

Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN+3+1 or ASEAN+1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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philippines

The Evolution of the East Asian Currency Baskets – Still Undisclosed and Changing

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

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philippines

Asian Equity Markets: Growth,Opportunities, and Challenges

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

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Is Asia Prepared for an Aging Population?

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

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RP's Forex Reserves Reached All-time High

The Central Bank of the Philippines reported that the country's foreign exchange reserves hit an all-time high of $23.0 billion at the end of 2006. This is 24 percent higher than the $18.49 billion reserves obtained in 2005. The country's strong foreign reserves is backed by the country's foreign borrowings, foreign direct investments, remittances from overseas Filipino workers, and strong influx of portfolio investments.

The Central Bank of the Philippines reported that the country's foreign exchange reserves hit an all-time high of $23.0 billion at the end of 2006. This is 24 percent higher than the $18.49 billion reserves obtained in 2005. The country's strong foreign reserves is backed by the country's foreign borrowings, foreign direct investments, remittances from overseas Filipino workers, and strong influx of portfolio investments.

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IBOR Rates in Asia

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

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philippines

RP's Inflation Rate Below 4.7%

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that the inflation rate for December is likely to soften and be lower than the 4.7 percent rate last month. The expected deceleration of inflation is due to the appreciation of peso and stabilization of petroleum prices. In addition, the deceleration has permitted BSP to keep its policy rates unchanged.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that the inflation rate for December is likely to soften and be lower than the 4.7 percent rate last month. The expected deceleration of inflation is due to the appreciation of peso and stabilization of petroleum prices. In addition, the deceleration has permitted BSP to keep its policy rates unchanged.

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RP to Pay Full Debt to IMF

Philippines will exit from IMF's post-program monitoring by April next year. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to pay in full the country's remaining obligations to the lender. BSP Governonr Tetangco stated that the country will pay $219.7 million to IMF ahead of schedule to reduce interest payments.

Philippines will exit from IMF's post-program monitoring by April next year. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to pay in full the country's remaining obligations to the lender. BSP Governonr Tetangco stated that the country will pay $219.7 million to IMF ahead of schedule to reduce interest payments.

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Economic Integration in Asia: Bilateral Free Trade Agreements Versus Asian Single Market

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

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philippines

World Bank Approves $250M Loan to RP

The World Bank has approved a loan amounting to $250 million for the Philippines to aid the government in strengthening its tax collection and reducing budget deficit. Furthermore, the money loaned will also be used to support further reforms in the fiscal sector. This new loan brings total aid from the lender to $660 million. The other loans granted were used to fund projects in education and health sectors as well as local government investments.

The World Bank has approved a loan amounting to $250 million for the Philippines to aid the government in strengthening its tax collection and reducing budget deficit. Furthermore, the money loaned will also be used to support further reforms in the fiscal sector. This new loan brings total aid from the lender to $660 million. The other loans granted were used to fund projects in education and health sectors as well as local government investments.

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RP Exports to Lose Trade Benefits from the US

The Philippines is about to lose trade benefits from the United States due to changes Congress made to the US Generalized System of Preferences program for developing countries, the US Trade Representative's office said. The US trade official mentioned that the Philippines is one of the six countries that would lose duty free access to the US market under the overhauled US trade program. Exporters of vehicle wiring harnesses were the first to react and expressed their concern over the revamped trade program since their products will lose the duty free benefits.

The Philippines is about to lose trade benefits from the United States due to changes Congress made to the US Generalized System of Preferences program for developing countries, the US Trade Representative's office said. The US trade official mentioned that the Philippines is one of the six countries that would lose duty free access to the US market under the overhauled US trade program. Exporters of vehicle wiring harnesses were the first to react and expressed their concern over the revamped trade program since their products will lose the duty free benefits.

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RP's Peso and other Asian Currencies Recover

The peso and other Asian currencies bounced back on Wednesday from a fall Tuesday after Thailand decided to backtrack on its plan to restrict capital flows to temper baht's rise. The peso closed stronger at 49.375 against the US dollar, 34.5 centavos higher than the previous day. The euphoria in Thailand's market had a domino effect on other Asian markets, specifically, Indonesia and the Philippines, because the three markets are usually treated by investors as one basket. Hence, it is no coincidence that euphoria in one market quickly spilled over to the others, Anton Periquet, a Deutsche Bank strategist said.

The peso and other Asian currencies bounced back on Wednesday from a fall Tuesday after Thailand decided to backtrack on its plan to restrict capital flows to temper baht's rise. The peso closed stronger at 49.375 against the US dollar, 34.5 centavos higher than the previous day. The euphoria in Thailand's market had a domino effect on other Asian markets, specifically, Indonesia and the Philippines, because the three markets are usually treated by investors as one basket. Hence, it is no coincidence that euphoria in one market quickly spilled over to the others, Anton Periquet, a Deutsche Bank strategist said.

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philippines

RP's Stocks, Peso Stumble

The Philippines' stocks and peso fell on Tuesday after the Thai central bank imposed currency control measures to prevent baht's rise and restrain the Thailand's export growth from unraveling. Traders at the Philippine Dealing System stated that Thai central bank's move to contain the steep rise of baht, has led to a contagion effect among Asian currencies. Aside from the Philippines, other Asian countries suffered the same fate Tuesday.


The Philippines' stocks and peso fell on Tuesday after the Thai central bank imposed currency control measures to prevent baht's rise and restrain the Thailand's export growth from unraveling. Traders at the Philippine Dealing System stated that Thai central bank's move to contain the steep rise of baht, has led to a contagion effect among Asian currencies. Aside from the Philippines, other Asian countries suffered the same fate Tuesday.


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Regional Intergration and Industrial Growth Among Developing Countries - three case of three ASEAN members

Has the revival of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the early 1990s affected the industrial growth of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines? The author uses two mechanisms to capture this potential impact: scale effects, and intermediate imports variety. She performs the analysis on twenty two industries (at the three-digit level of the International Standard Industrial Classification) over the period 1971-95. The results show significant heterogeneity in industry-level returns to scale. Moreover, the three ASEAN members have very small, mostly negative cross-industry scale effects. As a result, they may not achieve large, or across-the-board gains from their regional arrangement through scale effects. The author finds unexpected results with respect to the role of intermediate imports variety in industrial growth. She finds no support for the hypothesis that non-regional (rest of the world) suppliers, and goods variety have a positive effect on ASEAN industries through the channel of imported intermediate inputs. The regional variety measure, however, seems to have a positive effect on the output growth of a handful of industries. This result seems due to the fact that these countries have long had a strong intra-regional, and intra-industry trade, whose history predates, and outweighs the ASEAN revival.

Has the revival of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the early 1990s affected the industrial growth of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines? The author uses two mechanisms to capture this potential impact: scale effects, and intermediate imports variety. She performs the analysis on twenty two industries (at the three-digit level of the International Standard Industrial Classification) over the period 1971-95. The results show significant heterogeneity in industry-level returns to scale. Moreover, the three ASEAN members have very small, mostly negative cross-industry scale effects. As a result, they may not achieve large, or across-the-board gains from their regional arrangement through scale effects. The author finds unexpected results with respect to the role of intermediate imports variety in industrial growth. She finds no support for the hypothesis that non-regional (rest of the world) suppliers, and goods variety have a positive effect on ASEAN industries through the channel of imported intermediate inputs. The regional variety measure, however, seems to have a positive effect on the output growth of a handful of industries. This result seems due to the fact that these countries have long had a strong intra-regional, and intra-industry trade, whose history predates, and outweighs the ASEAN revival.

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The Predictability of ASEAN-5 Exchange Rates

In an attempt to determine the predictability of ASEAN exchange rates, five currencies including Malaysian ringgit, Thailand baht, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines peso, denominated in US dollar as well as Japanese yen, were modeled using advanced time series analysis. Results suggested that Singapore exchange rate could be better predicted when denominated in US dollar, most probably because the East Asian Financial Crisis did not affect them both. On the other hand, other Asean exchange rates were better predicted when denominated in Japanese yen, as they had closer economic ties with Japan. However, while Japan had undergone serious recession after the crisis, it did not experience dramatic political instability as experienced by Indonesia, hence Indonesian rupiah remained unpredictable by yen. These results show that although advanced time series analysis dealt with economic fundamentals implicitly; it still could be a powerful tool for exchange rates modeling and forecasting, especially in the medium to long term.

In an attempt to determine the predictability of ASEAN exchange rates, five currencies including Malaysian ringgit, Thailand baht, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines peso, denominated in US dollar as well as Japanese yen, were modeled using advanced time series analysis. Results suggested that Singapore exchange rate could be better predicted when denominated in US dollar, most probably because the East Asian Financial Crisis did not affect them both. On the other hand, other Asean exchange rates were better predicted when denominated in Japanese yen, as they had closer economic ties with Japan. However, while Japan had undergone serious recession after the crisis, it did not experience dramatic political instability as experienced by Indonesia, hence Indonesian rupiah remained unpredictable by yen. These results show that although advanced time series analysis dealt with economic fundamentals implicitly; it still could be a powerful tool for exchange rates modeling and forecasting, especially in the medium to long term.

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philippines

RP's Peso Seen More Volatile Next Year

The peso's value against the dollar is seen to be more volatile next year because of the upcoming May elections. According to a Singapore-based bank, the Philippine government might spend too much and break its budget deficit ceiling on the back of a cut in the Philippines' key interest rate in 2007. Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) further said that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is poised to cut its interest rates by 25 basis points during the second quarter, which creates discomfort about narrowing the peso's spread over the US dollar.

The peso's value against the dollar is seen to be more volatile next year because of the upcoming May elections. According to a Singapore-based bank, the Philippine government might spend too much and break its budget deficit ceiling on the back of a cut in the Philippines' key interest rate in 2007. Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) further said that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is poised to cut its interest rates by 25 basis points during the second quarter, which creates discomfort about narrowing the peso's spread over the US dollar.

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Hong Kong, Singapore And The East Asian Crisis: A First Look At The Importance Of Trade Spillovers

The literature on the East Asian crisis has concentrated almost exclusively on the five crisis-hit econmoies of Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (Asia-5). Relatvely scant attention has been paid to Hond Kong and Singapore, both of which also suffered from contagious fallout from the crisis despite being well acknowledged as having relatively sound finacial and economical fundamentals.This paper examines the extent to wihich trade spillovers, both direct and indirect, have been impprtant in transmitting the regional downturn from the Asia-5 economies to Kong Kong and Singapore.

The literature on the East Asian crisis has concentrated almost exclusively on the five crisis-hit econmoies of Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (Asia-5). Relatvely scant attention has been paid to Hond Kong and Singapore, both of which also suffered from contagious fallout from the crisis despite being well acknowledged as having relatively sound finacial and economical fundamentals.This paper examines the extent to wihich trade spillovers, both direct and indirect, have been impprtant in transmitting the regional downturn from the Asia-5 economies to Kong Kong and Singapore.

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philippines

Regional Responses To The Southeast Asian Economic Crisis:A Case Of Self-Help Or No Help?

The currency crises of the 1990s, particularly the one that hit Southeast Asia since the devaluation of the Thai baht on July 2, 1997, are suggestive of the relevance and pervasiveness of contagion or negative spillover effects that are largely regional in scope. As such, one of the mantras since the onset of the Southeast Asian economic crisis has been the need for "regional solutions to regional problems". Given that the two focal institutions in Southeast Asia, viz. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were perceived as being successful in their past attempts in problem-solving, there were high expectations
that such regionalism would be key in finding solutions to the Southeast Asian economic crisis and mitigating the after-shocks. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the regional responses to the crisis, taking stock of both preventive and curative initiatives of significance. While the focus is on ASEAN and APEC, consistent with the concept of ‘loose' or ‘non-institutionalised' regionalism in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region, other ad hoc unilateral or bilateral initiatives of significance by other Asian member countries in APEC are also examined, particularly those
by the region's dominant economic power, Japan.

The currency crises of the 1990s, particularly the one that hit Southeast Asia since the devaluation of the Thai baht on July 2, 1997, are suggestive of the relevance and pervasiveness of contagion or negative spillover effects that are largely regional in scope. As such, one of the mantras since the onset of the Southeast Asian economic crisis has been the need for "regional solutions to regional problems". Given that the two focal institutions in Southeast Asia, viz. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were perceived as being successful in their past attempts in problem-solving, there were high expectations
that such regionalism would be key in finding solutions to the Southeast Asian economic crisis and mitigating the after-shocks. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the regional responses to the crisis, taking stock of both preventive and curative initiatives of significance. While the focus is on ASEAN and APEC, consistent with the concept of ‘loose' or ‘non-institutionalised' regionalism in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region, other ad hoc unilateral or bilateral initiatives of significance by other Asian member countries in APEC are also examined, particularly those
by the region's dominant economic power, Japan.

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philippines

Implications of the Economic Rise of the PRC for ASEAN and India: Trade and Foreign Direct Investment

An important and vigorous policy debate ongoing in Asia concerns the impact of
the economic rise of the PRC on the rest of the region. This paper examines the relative
performances of the PRC, selected ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), and India over time, as well as the intensity and
changing dynamics of their intra-regional economic interactions. Focus is on trends and
patterns in merchandise trade, trade in commercial services, and FDI flows the last two
decades and potential impact of the PRC's continued economic emergence on ASEAN
and India.

An important and vigorous policy debate ongoing in Asia concerns the impact of
the economic rise of the PRC on the rest of the region. This paper examines the relative
performances of the PRC, selected ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), and India over time, as well as the intensity and
changing dynamics of their intra-regional economic interactions. Focus is on trends and
patterns in merchandise trade, trade in commercial services, and FDI flows the last two
decades and potential impact of the PRC's continued economic emergence on ASEAN
and India.

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philippines

RP's Inflation Rate and CPI

This shows the summary of inflation report and consumer price index in the Philippines.

This shows the summary of inflation report and consumer price index in the Philippines.

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philippines

RP's Unemployment Rate Results for October 2006

This shows the results of the October 2006 Labor Force Survey in the Philippines.

This shows the results of the October 2006 Labor Force Survey in the Philippines.

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philippines

Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN +3+1 or ASEAN +1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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philippines

RP's Jobless Rate Dropped to 7.3% in October

Philippines' unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in October from 8.0 percent in July, according to the National Statistics Office. The number of employed individuals reached 33.185 million in October compared to 32.875 million the previous year. The increase in the number of employed Filipinos was contributed mainly by the service sector, where employment in this sector increased by 1.9 percent.

Philippines' unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in October from 8.0 percent in July, according to the National Statistics Office. The number of employed individuals reached 33.185 million in October compared to 32.875 million the previous year. The increase in the number of employed Filipinos was contributed mainly by the service sector, where employment in this sector increased by 1.9 percent.

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philippines

Japan Recovery Will Boost RP Economy and Exports---UN

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) report, Japan's economic recovery will further improve the Philippines' economy and exports of goods and services. The report also showed that the Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) would be up by 0.17 percent, if the Japanese consumption were to increase at the annual rate of 4.4 percent. Furthermore, UN's study said that Japan's revival of its economy will help, not only the Philippines but the rest of Asia-Pacific region to offset the effects of US economic slowdown.

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) report, Japan's economic recovery will further improve the Philippines' economy and exports of goods and services. The report also showed that the Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) would be up by 0.17 percent, if the Japanese consumption were to increase at the annual rate of 4.4 percent. Furthermore, UN's study said that Japan's revival of its economy will help, not only the Philippines but the rest of Asia-Pacific region to offset the effects of US economic slowdown.

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philippines

Political and Governance Risks to Weigh on Philippines' Economic Prospects

Political and governance risks would likely weigh more on the Philippines' economic prospects next year, according to the international creditor community. Fitch Ratings Inc. said that political developments will be closely watched when the firm reviews its ratings for the Philippines. Furthermore, slowdown in the US economy and the reduction in foreign-exchange flows would damp economic growth in the country, the ratings firm said.

Political and governance risks would likely weigh more on the Philippines' economic prospects next year, according to the international creditor community. Fitch Ratings Inc. said that political developments will be closely watched when the firm reviews its ratings for the Philippines. Furthermore, slowdown in the US economy and the reduction in foreign-exchange flows would damp economic growth in the country, the ratings firm said.

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philippines

Philippines Posted a Double-Digit Growth in Exports

The Philippines posted a double-digit increase in exports for the month of October, defying fears of weakening demand from the country's biggest market, the US. According to the National Statistics Office, exports for the month grew 15.5 percent to $4.197 billion. Electronic goods remain to be the top exported products from the country.

The Philippines posted a double-digit increase in exports for the month of October, defying fears of weakening demand from the country's biggest market, the US. According to the National Statistics Office, exports for the month grew 15.5 percent to $4.197 billion. Electronic goods remain to be the top exported products from the country.

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philippines

Philippines' Jan-Sept. Foreign Direct Investments up by 64%

Net foreign investments for the first nine months of the year surged 64 percent to $1.64 billion. The increase was boosted mainly by lending to local units of foreign firms. In September alone, net foreign direct investments reached $156 million compared to $132 million registered in the same month the previous year. The inflows during this month were driven by equity capital placements of $418 million, the highest monthly inflow of equity capital since April 2002, the central bank governor said.

Net foreign investments for the first nine months of the year surged 64 percent to $1.64 billion. The increase was boosted mainly by lending to local units of foreign firms. In September alone, net foreign direct investments reached $156 million compared to $132 million registered in the same month the previous year. The inflows during this month were driven by equity capital placements of $418 million, the highest monthly inflow of equity capital since April 2002, the central bank governor said.

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philippines

Asean-India Trade Agreement Expected by June

India is expecting to sign a free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by June next year after both sides failed to meet the December deadline due to some conflicts on goods to be excluded from the agreement. Both parties are in disagreement on items such as agricultural products that India wants to exclude from tariff cuts. If the free trade agreement will push through, ASEAN will open up new overseas market for India's software and other services. In turn, the pact will give ASEAN more access to the world's second fastest growing economy.

India is expecting to sign a free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by June next year after both sides failed to meet the December deadline due to some conflicts on goods to be excluded from the agreement. Both parties are in disagreement on items such as agricultural products that India wants to exclude from tariff cuts. If the free trade agreement will push through, ASEAN will open up new overseas market for India's software and other services. In turn, the pact will give ASEAN more access to the world's second fastest growing economy.

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philippines

Manila Postpones ASEAN Summit to January

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

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philippines

Confidence of Philippine Consumers Weakens in Fourth Quarter

Consumer confidence weakens in the last quarter of the year because of uncertainty about the economic situation of the country, coupled with families' income prospects and financial situation, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Based on the Consumer Expectation Survey (CES) conducted by the bank, consumer index for the quarter fell by 2.4 points to -39.8 percent, especially in Metro Manila. Respondents from the low income groups were bearish about the fourth quarter prospects, while respondents from the high income groups were more bullish.

Consumer confidence weakens in the last quarter of the year because of uncertainty about the economic situation of the country, coupled with families' income prospects and financial situation, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Based on the Consumer Expectation Survey (CES) conducted by the bank, consumer index for the quarter fell by 2.4 points to -39.8 percent, especially in Metro Manila. Respondents from the low income groups were bearish about the fourth quarter prospects, while respondents from the high income groups were more bullish.

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philippines

ADB: Economic Growth in East Asia to Remain Strong in 2007

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

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philippines

Unresolved Political Issue in the Philippines May Threaten Economy

Experts at Asia Development Bank (ADB) said that the Philippines' unresolved political issue of constitutional change may hurt the country's economy and reduce investors' confidence. ADB projected that the country's economy would grow 5.4 percent which is below the government's target of 5.5 percent to 6.1 percent. The lender bank said this year's economic growth would be boosted by strong export and private consumption. On the other hand, the bank emphasized in its report that a major source of vulnerability in the country is the unsettled political issue of constitutional change, together with southern region's security concerns. This scenario could lead to a possible reduction in investors' confidence in the country, hence, threatening the economy.

Experts at Asia Development Bank (ADB) said that the Philippines' unresolved political issue of constitutional change may hurt the country's economy and reduce investors' confidence. ADB projected that the country's economy would grow 5.4 percent which is below the government's target of 5.5 percent to 6.1 percent. The lender bank said this year's economic growth would be boosted by strong export and private consumption. On the other hand, the bank emphasized in its report that a major source of vulnerability in the country is the unsettled political issue of constitutional change, together with southern region's security concerns. This scenario could lead to a possible reduction in investors' confidence in the country, hence, threatening the economy.

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philippines

Japan to Raise FTA delay with the Philippines

Japanese Prime Minister Abe is expected to raise his concern over the delay in the ratification of the free trade agreement signed between Japan and the Philippines when he meets with Philippine President Arroyo. The Philippine government is ready to respond to the issue concerning the trade pact. Japan has reportedly expressed impatience over the delay in the ratification of the agreement. Also officials are said to be unhappy with the status of the Jpepa. Japanese officials have every reason to be agitated because if the free trade pact will not be ratified by the Philippine Senate, it cannot be enforced.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe is expected to raise his concern over the delay in the ratification of the free trade agreement signed between Japan and the Philippines when he meets with Philippine President Arroyo. The Philippine government is ready to respond to the issue concerning the trade pact. Japan has reportedly expressed impatience over the delay in the ratification of the agreement. Also officials are said to be unhappy with the status of the Jpepa. Japanese officials have every reason to be agitated because if the free trade pact will not be ratified by the Philippine Senate, it cannot be enforced.

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philippines

Credit Suisse: The Philippines Not Yet Ripe for a Credit Rating Upgrade

In spite of the Philippines' improving credit, it is not yet ripe for a credit rating upgrade, according to Credit Suisse in a recent research note. Moreover, other international credit rating agencies are unlikely to upgrade their respective ratings for the Philippines because of the country's high debt burden. The Philippine government still has one of the highest government debt burden across most measures of indebtedness. The possible upgrade in late 2007 and 2008 depends on achieving a balanced budget and in accelerating privatization efforts.

In spite of the Philippines' improving credit, it is not yet ripe for a credit rating upgrade, according to Credit Suisse in a recent research note. Moreover, other international credit rating agencies are unlikely to upgrade their respective ratings for the Philippines because of the country's high debt burden. The Philippine government still has one of the highest government debt burden across most measures of indebtedness. The possible upgrade in late 2007 and 2008 depends on achieving a balanced budget and in accelerating privatization efforts.

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philippines

US and Asian Economies Differ Over Free Trade Bloc Process

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

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philippines

Businesses Confident on RP's Economy

The survey conducted by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that business confidence on the economy hit its highest level in the fourth quarter. The optimism of businesses stemmed from the continued appreciation of the peso, increased remittances from OFWs, rollback in prices of oil and petroleum products, and the holiday season. This survey is conducted quarterly by BSP to help determine and measure the effectivity of its monetary policy.

The survey conducted by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that business confidence on the economy hit its highest level in the fourth quarter. The optimism of businesses stemmed from the continued appreciation of the peso, increased remittances from OFWs, rollback in prices of oil and petroleum products, and the holiday season. This survey is conducted quarterly by BSP to help determine and measure the effectivity of its monetary policy.

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philippines

Philippines Braces for "Super-Typhoon" Durian

Chief weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz reports sustained winds of 190kph and gusts reaching 225kph (119mph and 140 mph, respectively). The typhoon is moving towards the eastern coast of the Philippines at speeds of nearly 25kph (15mph), possibly reaching Manila by Friday morning. Power outages and closed ports promise businesses a challenging recovery.

Chief weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz reports sustained winds of 190kph and gusts reaching 225kph (119mph and 140 mph, respectively). The typhoon is moving towards the eastern coast of the Philippines at speeds of nearly 25kph (15mph), possibly reaching Manila by Friday morning. Power outages and closed ports promise businesses a challenging recovery.

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philippines

Integration of ASEAN Economies a Sound Way to Navigate Globalizing World

Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to endorse plans to step up regional economic integration and create a common market by 2015. ASEAN aims to eliminate tariffs by 2015 under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The free trade pact will provide members "a sound way to navigate" the rapidly globalizing world by liberalizing and integrating economies.

Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to endorse plans to step up regional economic integration and create a common market by 2015. ASEAN aims to eliminate tariffs by 2015 under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The free trade pact will provide members "a sound way to navigate" the rapidly globalizing world by liberalizing and integrating economies.

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philippines

The Philippines 'Committed' to Push Ahead with Trade Agreement with Japan

Despite environmental concerns, the Philippines is committed to pushing ahead with a trade pact with Japan. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has endorsed the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) for ratification in the Senate. The trade pact between the two countries is seen as "mutually rewarding" and could provide opportunities for Filipino nurses and health workers seeking high-paying jobs in Japan. However, environmentalists led by Greenpeace argues that the deal includes provision for the shipment of wastes which will be allowed to move across the two counties untaxed. With this, the trade agreement between the two countries remains very controversial.

Despite environmental concerns, the Philippines is committed to pushing ahead with a trade pact with Japan. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has endorsed the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) for ratification in the Senate. The trade pact between the two countries is seen as "mutually rewarding" and could provide opportunities for Filipino nurses and health workers seeking high-paying jobs in Japan. However, environmentalists led by Greenpeace argues that the deal includes provision for the shipment of wastes which will be allowed to move across the two counties untaxed. With this, the trade agreement between the two countries remains very controversial.

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philippines

The Philippine Government to Import Cheaper Medicines

The government is studying the possibility of selling cheaper medicines to relieve senior citizens the burden of paying a high price for medicines. Finance secretary Teves stated that the government can look into a proposal to bring in cheap medicines from India. He further said that a certain portion of the imported medicines can be allocated for the senior citizens.

The government is studying the possibility of selling cheaper medicines to relieve senior citizens the burden of paying a high price for medicines. Finance secretary Teves stated that the government can look into a proposal to bring in cheap medicines from India. He further said that a certain portion of the imported medicines can be allocated for the senior citizens.

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philippines

Oxfam Warns the Philippines on the Planned US-RP FTA

The international agency Oxfam warned the Philippines to slow down on the pursuance of the US-RP free trade pact since this could make medicines more expensive for poor consumers. The agency further explained that US pharmaceutical companies have been urging the US Trade Representative office to have a strict intellectual property protection on medicines.

In the event that US gives in to the pressure and adopts strict IP policies under the FTA, this agreement will further restrict generic competition and disregard the obligations of the WTO Doha Declaration on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Public Health.

 

The international agency Oxfam warned the Philippines to slow down on the pursuance of the US-RP free trade pact since this could make medicines more expensive for poor consumers. The agency further explained that US pharmaceutical companies have been urging the US Trade Representative office to have a strict intellectual property protection on medicines.

In the event that US gives in to the pressure and adopts strict IP policies under the FTA, this agreement will further restrict generic competition and disregard the obligations of the WTO Doha Declaration on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Public Health.

 

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philippines

Central Bankers Upbeat Over Global Growth Next Year

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

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philippines

Philippines Saved Billions in Interest Payments for Oustanding Debts

Department of Finance data showed that interest payments for the month of October dropped by 26.4 percent to P23.3 billion. Due to lower interest rates, the government was able to save P25 billion in interest payments. Part of the savings came from the 91-day Treasury bill interest rate, which slid to 5.465 percent as of the last week of October. A stronger peso also contributed to the savings. With the peso's strength against the dollar, less amount was needed to pay each dollar of debt.

Department of Finance data showed that interest payments for the month of October dropped by 26.4 percent to P23.3 billion. Due to lower interest rates, the government was able to save P25 billion in interest payments. Part of the savings came from the 91-day Treasury bill interest rate, which slid to 5.465 percent as of the last week of October. A stronger peso also contributed to the savings. With the peso's strength against the dollar, less amount was needed to pay each dollar of debt.

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philippines

Philippine Government Predicts a Lower Year-end Budget Deficit

The country's budget deficit may end up below the orginal target of P125 billion because of narrower financing gap at end-October. The government has been reporting lower than target deficits this year with surpluses last April, May, June and August. The end-October financing gap was lower than last year's P115.5 billion due to the improved revenue collections and lower spending after Congress failed to pass this year's national budget.

The country's budget deficit may end up below the orginal target of P125 billion because of narrower financing gap at end-October. The government has been reporting lower than target deficits this year with surpluses last April, May, June and August. The end-October financing gap was lower than last year's P115.5 billion due to the improved revenue collections and lower spending after Congress failed to pass this year's national budget.

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philippines

US Business Execs Advised Philippines to Drop US-RP FTA

Visiting US investors have advised Manila to drop efforts of forging a bilateral agreement with Washington since it is unlikely to prosper in the near future. Instead, the country should focus on multilateral trade talks since the US is unlikely to consider a phased sectoral liberalization, as stated by Matthew Delay, president of the US-Asean Business Council. He further stated that the President and the US Congress want a comprehensive FTA and not a phased liberalization.

Visiting US investors have advised Manila to drop efforts of forging a bilateral agreement with Washington since it is unlikely to prosper in the near future. Instead, the country should focus on multilateral trade talks since the US is unlikely to consider a phased sectoral liberalization, as stated by Matthew Delay, president of the US-Asean Business Council. He further stated that the President and the US Congress want a comprehensive FTA and not a phased liberalization.

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philippines

APEC Shelves Free Trade Zone Plans

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

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philippines

No Russia-ASEAN Summit This Year

The Russian President Vladimir Putin won't be coming to Cebu, the Philippines, and that's as good as official and final. The reason is, the second Russia-ASEAN Summit that could have been organized back-to-back with an annual ASEAN Summit in that city, is not fit for a show.

Officially in any Foreign Ministry worth its salt, be it Russian or Asian ministry, you may get a comment that there was no invitation for Mr. Putin to come to the summit, so we are talking about wrong assumptions and failed expectations. Besides, the first Russia-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur on December 13th last year ended with an obligation to hold "regular", not "annual", summits.

But that's very feeble explanation, because there was a lot of unofficial talk about the Cebu summit. So what really happened? First of all, the Russian leader takes Moscow's ties to Asia in general, and the ASEAN 10 in particular, very close to his heart. You may say there's a lot of expectations in Moscow from everything and anything Asia-oriented (and we shall elaborate on that a bit later). But there is one thing that Mr. Putin hates, and that is "summits for summit's sake". The style of his presidency presumes that a presidential visit is a culmination of work of a lot of people, with serious agreements signed and shown to the voters. Making a trip across the globe and delivering a speech is definitely not enough to stir Mr. Putin's juices.

A year ago in KL three documents have been signed between Russia and ASEAN. These were: the Joint Declaration on progressive & comprehensive partnership; the Program of Action for 2005-2015 (mentioning trade, industry, energy, transport, antiterrorist cooperation, natural disaster prevention, etc); finally, the agreement on Economic and Development Cooperation. But nothing much happened in these 11 or so months after that summit.

On November 3 a joint committee on cooperation between Russia and ASEAN was hold in Moscow, the co-chairmen being the department heads of the Foreign Ministries. From the Russian side that was Mr. Bakhtiar Khakimov, from the ASEAN side Mr. Luis Cruz, the Philippines. The main issue was a cooperation fund – about 1 million US Dollars that Russia has to invest into a cooperation infrastructure. E-commerce development and studies of the Russian language – that's how some of this money will be spent. But in any case the programs will start only in 2007.

Several discussion groups are agreed to be set up – like, on transnational crime and technological cooperation. Energy security will also be under discussion, as well as many other subjects. But Moscow thinks that all this is not enough to justify a summit right now. You have to start carrying out the agreements reached at the previous summit, first.

The diplomatic sources are saying that the ASEAN side understands and even "respects" Moscow maximalism on the matter. To add, a lot of blame might be put on the Russian bureaucracy, too, and nobody is denying it.

You may feel, though, Russian leadership's deep dissatisfaction with its relations with ASEAN behind all the niceties. The reasons for this can be summed up as "too little, too slow" in business, in spite of almost complete harmony in political and diplomatic contacts.

Gone are the days when the Soviet Union was causing plenty of uneasy feelings in South East Asia. 10 years ago Russia has become ASEAN's Dialogue Partner, and 1 year ago it was elevated to the status of a Summit Partner. Look who is ASEAN's Summit Partner, and especially who is not, and you will see that Moscow is very, very close to ASEAN in global diplomacy and in its views on what the world should look like.

But thinking alike is not making us big trade partners, and that's the source of Moscow's frustration, and sometimes overreaction. The trade between Russia and ASEAN 10 has reached 4 billion dollars in 2004, 5 billion in 2005 and may touch 6 billion in 2006. It's a good show if you look at the growth rate, but a very weak one if you consider that it is still less than 1% of overall trade of both ASEAN and Russia. Moscow is trailing far behind US or China or Australia in that regard.

If you look close at the model of that trade, you will see that basically Russia is supplying ASEAN countries with metals, fertilizers and chemicals in exchange for purchases of commodities like the palm oil, and foodstuffs.

But this is definitely not what Russia wanted from that part of the world. Russia's basic economic problem is not unlike what Indonesia struggled with in the 70-s and 80-s – to diversify export, to eliminate dependence on oil and gas supplies to the world, to develop hi-tech export, be it in aerospace or nuclear power stations or anything else that the Russia researchers are good at.

You cannot hope for that with partners and regions where your hydrocarbon exports are bringing as much revenue as they do now to Russia. But Asia, notably in its South East, does not need Russia oil and gas. You just have to rely on hi-tech in all the exchanges with this area.

Essentially, Moscow was pinning high hopes on Asia to help diversify the Russian economy. And so far these hopes stay almost where they were.
Being a participant in the first and second Russia-ASEAN business forums, as well as in many similar meetings, I may say that we see some measure of success only in the aircraft sales – be it fighter jets or a wonderful Be-200 forest firefighter supplied to Indonesia. That's not enough, compared to the volume of offers made by the various Russian companies.

It's worth noting that anything good that happened to the Russian-ASEAN trade happened on bilateral basis, between businessmen of Russia and some particular countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as leaders. While the capabilities of ASEAN as an organization in facilitation of the hi-tech cooperation may be put in serious doubt. You may even say that the Russia-ASEAN relations history is the history of declarations signed. And you cannot really blame Mr. Putin for trying to change that situation, even by some rather dramatic gestures.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin won't be coming to Cebu, the Philippines, and that's as good as official and final. The reason is, the second Russia-ASEAN Summit that could have been organized back-to-back with an annual ASEAN Summit in that city, is not fit for a show.

Officially in any Foreign Ministry worth its salt, be it Russian or Asian ministry, you may get a comment that there was no invitation for Mr. Putin to come to the summit, so we are talking about wrong assumptions and failed expectations. Besides, the first Russia-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur on December 13th last year ended with an obligation to hold "regular", not "annual", summits.

But that's very feeble explanation, because there was a lot of unofficial talk about the Cebu summit. So what really happened? First of all, the Russian leader takes Moscow's ties to Asia in general, and the ASEAN 10 in particular, very close to his heart. You may say there's a lot of expectations in Moscow from everything and anything Asia-oriented (and we shall elaborate on that a bit later). But there is one thing that Mr. Putin hates, and that is "summits for summit's sake". The style of his presidency presumes that a presidential visit is a culmination of work of a lot of people, with serious agreements signed and shown to the voters. Making a trip across the globe and delivering a speech is definitely not enough to stir Mr. Putin's juices.

A year ago in KL three documents have been signed between Russia and ASEAN. These were: the Joint Declaration on progressive & comprehensive partnership; the Program of Action for 2005-2015 (mentioning trade, industry, energy, transport, antiterrorist cooperation, natural disaster prevention, etc); finally, the agreement on Economic and Development Cooperation. But nothing much happened in these 11 or so months after that summit.

On November 3 a joint committee on cooperation between Russia and ASEAN was hold in Moscow, the co-chairmen being the department heads of the Foreign Ministries. From the Russian side that was Mr. Bakhtiar Khakimov, from the ASEAN side Mr. Luis Cruz, the Philippines. The main issue was a cooperation fund – about 1 million US Dollars that Russia has to invest into a cooperation infrastructure. E-commerce development and studies of the Russian language – that's how some of this money will be spent. But in any case the programs will start only in 2007.

Several discussion groups are agreed to be set up – like, on transnational crime and technological cooperation. Energy security will also be under discussion, as well as many other subjects. But Moscow thinks that all this is not enough to justify a summit right now. You have to start carrying out the agreements reached at the previous summit, first.

The diplomatic sources are saying that the ASEAN side understands and even "respects" Moscow maximalism on the matter. To add, a lot of blame might be put on the Russian bureaucracy, too, and nobody is denying it.

You may feel, though, Russian leadership's deep dissatisfaction with its relations with ASEAN behind all the niceties. The reasons for this can be summed up as "too little, too slow" in business, in spite of almost complete harmony in political and diplomatic contacts.

Gone are the days when the Soviet Union was causing plenty of uneasy feelings in South East Asia. 10 years ago Russia has become ASEAN's Dialogue Partner, and 1 year ago it was elevated to the status of a Summit Partner. Look who is ASEAN's Summit Partner, and especially who is not, and you will see that Moscow is very, very close to ASEAN in global diplomacy and in its views on what the world should look like.

But thinking alike is not making us big trade partners, and that's the source of Moscow's frustration, and sometimes overreaction. The trade between Russia and ASEAN 10 has reached 4 billion dollars in 2004, 5 billion in 2005 and may touch 6 billion in 2006. It's a good show if you look at the growth rate, but a very weak one if you consider that it is still less than 1% of overall trade of both ASEAN and Russia. Moscow is trailing far behind US or China or Australia in that regard.

If you look close at the model of that trade, you will see that basically Russia is supplying ASEAN countries with metals, fertilizers and chemicals in exchange for purchases of commodities like the palm oil, and foodstuffs.

But this is definitely not what Russia wanted from that part of the world. Russia's basic economic problem is not unlike what Indonesia struggled with in the 70-s and 80-s – to diversify export, to eliminate dependence on oil and gas supplies to the world, to develop hi-tech export, be it in aerospace or nuclear power stations or anything else that the Russia researchers are good at.

You cannot hope for that with partners and regions where your hydrocarbon exports are bringing as much revenue as they do now to Russia. But Asia, notably in its South East, does not need Russia oil and gas. You just have to rely on hi-tech in all the exchanges with this area.

Essentially, Moscow was pinning high hopes on Asia to help diversify the Russian economy. And so far these hopes stay almost where they were.
Being a participant in the first and second Russia-ASEAN business forums, as well as in many similar meetings, I may say that we see some measure of success only in the aircraft sales – be it fighter jets or a wonderful Be-200 forest firefighter supplied to Indonesia. That's not enough, compared to the volume of offers made by the various Russian companies.

It's worth noting that anything good that happened to the Russian-ASEAN trade happened on bilateral basis, between businessmen of Russia and some particular countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as leaders. While the capabilities of ASEAN as an organization in facilitation of the hi-tech cooperation may be put in serious doubt. You may even say that the Russia-ASEAN relations history is the history of declarations signed. And you cannot really blame Mr. Putin for trying to change that situation, even by some rather dramatic gestures.

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philippines

APEC Leaders Ponder Region-Wide FTA While Doha Round Struggles

APEC business leaders see an Asia-Pacific-wide free trade agreement as an alternative way to boost regional commerce if efforts to resuscitate the collapsed Doha Round of world trade talks fail.

Initiated by the US and labelled the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), the arrangement would link all 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) grouping, which accounts for nearly half of the world trade and 70 per cent of world economic growth.

"We want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade talks to succeed, but obviously it does not look that easy although many bilateral efforts are still going on," said Tan Sri Azman Hashim, chairman of the AmBank Group and Malaysian representative to the annual Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting in Hanoi yesterday.

"There are suggestions that if we don't succeed in reviving the WTO talks, then how about the FTAAP as the next step," he told newsmen.

He added that the mechanics of establishing a region-wide FTA may be complex as Apec was a diverse group and not all members may be ready or able to join the effort at the same time. "Some may have to join first and others later," he said.

Apec leaders are determined, officials say, to make a last ditch effort to revive the failed WTO talks at their Hanoi summit over the weekend.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy is due to attend the Apec Ministerial Meeting mid week and hold talks with Apec officials to see if there are ways to revive the failed trade talks.

The Doha Round of WTO talks, seen as the way to global trade liberalisation and eradication of poverty and imbalances, collapsed after four years in July 2006 following disagreements between the US and the European Union over farm subsidies.

Australia's ABAC representative Peter Charlton said business leaders believed that if there was no way forward for the failed WTO talks, then the FTAAP would be the fall- back.

"Although the best position is to have a successful outcome to the WTO negotiations, the primary position is that if everything else fails and the WTO fails on the Doha Round, then the FTAAP is the secondary choice," he said.

With the US lending its weight to the FTAAP proposal, Apec leaders could take it up seriously and set a foundation for the path towards making the plan a success in future.

There are at present over 50 bilateral FTAs between Apec member countries floating around at various stages of agreement and some officials see one region-wide FTA as a way to overcome duplications and problems arising from a proliferation of bilateral FTAs.

On the question of Apec reform, ABAC business leaders believed that there was a need to refresh some of Apec's goals and aspirations.

Bogor Goals adopted at an Apec meeting in Indonesia seek to realise free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed countries and 2020 for developing countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to address ABAC delegates on Saturday as will his counterparts from Singapore, Thailand, the US and others.

Businessmen and some Apec officials are concerned that the regional trade and economic grouping's meeting of ministers on November 15-16 and summit of heads of governments on November 18-19 may be distracted by other major non-trade issues such as the South Korean diplomacy expected to be pursued on the sidelines by the US, China, Japan and South Korea.

On Malaysian businessmen's interest in Apec, Azman said: "We, just like everybody else are interested to see what happens in Apec is good for our business in Malaysia. When Apec talks about liberalisation, we have to keep an eye on how it is done.

"We try to slow them down a bit (on liberalisation) as there is always a push to open up (our economies) tomorrow. In many ways we are not ready yet for it."

Azman said Malaysia was pushing for Apec to focus on capacity building so that the country and its businesses can get more prepared and ready to absorb greater globalisation.

This article was provided courtesy of The Business Times.

APEC business leaders see an Asia-Pacific-wide free trade agreement as an alternative way to boost regional commerce if efforts to resuscitate the collapsed Doha Round of world trade talks fail.

Initiated by the US and labelled the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), the arrangement would link all 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) grouping, which accounts for nearly half of the world trade and 70 per cent of world economic growth.

"We want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade talks to succeed, but obviously it does not look that easy although many bilateral efforts are still going on," said Tan Sri Azman Hashim, chairman of the AmBank Group and Malaysian representative to the annual Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting in Hanoi yesterday.

"There are suggestions that if we don't succeed in reviving the WTO talks, then how about the FTAAP as the next step," he told newsmen.

He added that the mechanics of establishing a region-wide FTA may be complex as Apec was a diverse group and not all members may be ready or able to join the effort at the same time. "Some may have to join first and others later," he said.

Apec leaders are determined, officials say, to make a last ditch effort to revive the failed WTO talks at their Hanoi summit over the weekend.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy is due to attend the Apec Ministerial Meeting mid week and hold talks with Apec officials to see if there are ways to revive the failed trade talks.

The Doha Round of WTO talks, seen as the way to global trade liberalisation and eradication of poverty and imbalances, collapsed after four years in July 2006 following disagreements between the US and the European Union over farm subsidies.

Australia's ABAC representative Peter Charlton said business leaders believed that if there was no way forward for the failed WTO talks, then the FTAAP would be the fall- back.

"Although the best position is to have a successful outcome to the WTO negotiations, the primary position is that if everything else fails and the WTO fails on the Doha Round, then the FTAAP is the secondary choice," he said.

With the US lending its weight to the FTAAP proposal, Apec leaders could take it up seriously and set a foundation for the path towards making the plan a success in future.

There are at present over 50 bilateral FTAs between Apec member countries floating around at various stages of agreement and some officials see one region-wide FTA as a way to overcome duplications and problems arising from a proliferation of bilateral FTAs.

On the question of Apec reform, ABAC business leaders believed that there was a need to refresh some of Apec's goals and aspirations.

Bogor Goals adopted at an Apec meeting in Indonesia seek to realise free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed countries and 2020 for developing countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to address ABAC delegates on Saturday as will his counterparts from Singapore, Thailand, the US and others.

Businessmen and some Apec officials are concerned that the regional trade and economic grouping's meeting of ministers on November 15-16 and summit of heads of governments on November 18-19 may be distracted by other major non-trade issues such as the South Korean diplomacy expected to be pursued on the sidelines by the US, China, Japan and South Korea.

On Malaysian businessmen's interest in Apec, Azman said: "We, just like everybody else are interested to see what happens in Apec is good for our business in Malaysia. When Apec talks about liberalisation, we have to keep an eye on how it is done.

"We try to slow them down a bit (on liberalisation) as there is always a push to open up (our economies) tomorrow. In many ways we are not ready yet for it."

Azman said Malaysia was pushing for Apec to focus on capacity building so that the country and its businesses can get more prepared and ready to absorb greater globalisation.

This article was provided courtesy of The Business Times.

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philippines

Wolrd Bank Raises Economic Growth Forecast for the Philippines

The World Bank has raised its 2006 GDP forecast to 5.5 percent from 5.3 percent. The increase is attributed to the recovery of the agriculture sector, a steady rise in exports, and remittances from Filipinos working abroad. In addition, the bank also improved the country's GDP for 2007 to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent. However, World Bank's forecast is lower compared to the government's economic growth target ranging between 5.5-6.1 percent for this year and 5.7-6.5 percent for 2007.

The World Bank has raised its 2006 GDP forecast to 5.5 percent from 5.3 percent. The increase is attributed to the recovery of the agriculture sector, a steady rise in exports, and remittances from Filipinos working abroad. In addition, the bank also improved the country's GDP for 2007 to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent. However, World Bank's forecast is lower compared to the government's economic growth target ranging between 5.5-6.1 percent for this year and 5.7-6.5 percent for 2007.

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philippines

Philippine Stocks Down, Peso Stronger

Dealers stated that share prices was down by 0.61 percent Monday. The Philippine Long distance telephone company led the retreat, which was down P60 to 2,520 after hitting all-time highs last week. In addition, the composite index dropped 17.46 points to 2,821.92 after trading between 2,815.95 and 2,839.38.

Despite the drop of share prices, peso closed at 49.79 to the US dollar, stronger than last week's 49.91 close.

Dealers stated that share prices was down by 0.61 percent Monday. The Philippine Long distance telephone company led the retreat, which was down P60 to 2,520 after hitting all-time highs last week. In addition, the composite index dropped 17.46 points to 2,821.92 after trading between 2,815.95 and 2,839.38.

Despite the drop of share prices, peso closed at 49.79 to the US dollar, stronger than last week's 49.91 close.

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philippines

Ex-central Bank Head sees P48.50 : $1 at Year-End

The peso is projected to climb to P48.50 against the dollar at year-end. This is due to the dollar remittances from Filipinos working abroad which come in strong during the period and the influx of foreign portfolio investments. Furthermore, it is predicted that the peso will rise to P47 per dollar if the government can keep its budget deficit within target.

The peso is projected to climb to P48.50 against the dollar at year-end. This is due to the dollar remittances from Filipinos working abroad which come in strong during the period and the influx of foreign portfolio investments. Furthermore, it is predicted that the peso will rise to P47 per dollar if the government can keep its budget deficit within target.

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philippines

Asian Market: Potential Risks Ahead

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

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philippines

ASEAN Countries Discuss Open Skies

Singapore's Prime Minister proposed an open skies agreement between China and ASEAN countries to be implemented in the coming year. Along with other sets of open-transit initiatives that are being planned, ASEAN hopes to work towards a free trade agreement with China by year 2010. With 1.7 billion people, this could be the world's biggest free trade area.

Singapore's Prime Minister proposed an open skies agreement between China and ASEAN countries to be implemented in the coming year. Along with other sets of open-transit initiatives that are being planned, ASEAN hopes to work towards a free trade agreement with China by year 2010. With 1.7 billion people, this could be the world's biggest free trade area.

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philippines

Government Increases Debt Payments

According to Bureau of Treasury data, the Philippines government increased its debt payments by 24% in the period from January to September. This amounts to an increase of 123.1 billion pesos. At the same time, an appreciating peso and low interest rates have enabled the goverment to save 17.26 billion pesos in interest payments. The government is now turning to domestic financing and other cheaper debt papers, and has begun retiring old bonds and IOUs. These measures are a part of recent efforts to consolidate national debt.

According to Bureau of Treasury data, the Philippines government increased its debt payments by 24% in the period from January to September. This amounts to an increase of 123.1 billion pesos. At the same time, an appreciating peso and low interest rates have enabled the goverment to save 17.26 billion pesos in interest payments. The government is now turning to domestic financing and other cheaper debt papers, and has begun retiring old bonds and IOUs. These measures are a part of recent efforts to consolidate national debt.

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philippines

Rise in Spending Brings Budget Deficit

The government deficit amounted to P16.2 billion, 30 percent over the target ceiling for the month but analysts are not concerned. Analysts say that the government needed to increase spending on infrastructure and social services to encourage economic growth.

The government deficit amounted to P16.2 billion, 30 percent over the target ceiling for the month but analysts are not concerned. Analysts say that the government needed to increase spending on infrastructure and social services to encourage economic growth.

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philippines

Asian Bankers Push for Market Reforms

An Asian Development Bank official has stated that creating a region-wide free-trade area is a realistic goal in contrast to the hopes of establishing a common market, which is currently blocked by major obstacles.  According to the official, there are currently 183 free trade agreements either signed or in negotiation across Asia, where intra-regional trade has risen to 55% last year compared to ~40% in the early 1990's.  The ultimate goal would be "consolidating these various inter-Asian FTA's into a single, Asia-wide, best practices FTA."  Howeover, many domestic issues must be resolved before most countries would be able to fully open up their markets.

An Asian Development Bank official has stated that creating a region-wide free-trade area is a realistic goal in contrast to the hopes of establishing a common market, which is currently blocked by major obstacles.  According to the official, there are currently 183 free trade agreements either signed or in negotiation across Asia, where intra-regional trade has risen to 55% last year compared to ~40% in the early 1990's.  The ultimate goal would be "consolidating these various inter-Asian FTA's into a single, Asia-wide, best practices FTA."  Howeover, many domestic issues must be resolved before most countries would be able to fully open up their markets.

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philippines

Philippines Seen on Verge of a Rebirth

Philippines appears to be on the verge of economic rebirth, with the peso sitting at a four-year high and current annual growth rates hitting over 6%: the rate seen as essential for cutting poverty.  However, many are still concerned with the longstanding political instability that has caused numerous setbacks in the country's development.  However, on a positive note, the government has finally begun to control its chronic budget deficit and now has revenue to invest in its infrastructure.  Domestic consumption has also accounted for 70% of recent economic activity, which is a good sign of the population's well being.  President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has vowed to lead the country to first-world status within 20 years.

Philippines appears to be on the verge of economic rebirth, with the peso sitting at a four-year high and current annual growth rates hitting over 6%: the rate seen as essential for cutting poverty.  However, many are still concerned with the longstanding political instability that has caused numerous setbacks in the country's development.  However, on a positive note, the government has finally begun to control its chronic budget deficit and now has revenue to invest in its infrastructure.  Domestic consumption has also accounted for 70% of recent economic activity, which is a good sign of the population's well being.  President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has vowed to lead the country to first-world status within 20 years.

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philippines

Oil Prices Fall Below $60 in Asia

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

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philippines

Philippines: Great Outsourcing Opportunity

Last year, the Philippines amassed $2.1 billion in outsourced service revenues, which places them third behind China and India, and one place ahead of Malaysia.  This number will continue to rise with the Philippines aggressiveness at creating a niche for itself in the service sector.  Unlike China and India, which are mainly utilized for low-value added areas such as call centers, the Philippines specialize in high-end services such as legal work, web design, medicine, and software development.  They also have significant advantages with a population that is largely English proficient, and also familiar with U.S. law (Philippines was previously an American colony).

Last year, the Philippines amassed $2.1 billion in outsourced service revenues, which places them third behind China and India, and one place ahead of Malaysia.  This number will continue to rise with the Philippines aggressiveness at creating a niche for itself in the service sector.  Unlike China and India, which are mainly utilized for low-value added areas such as call centers, the Philippines specialize in high-end services such as legal work, web design, medicine, and software development.  They also have significant advantages with a population that is largely English proficient, and also familiar with U.S. law (Philippines was previously an American colony).

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philippines

Philippine's Exports Rise 16.2% This Year-to-Date

Compared to the same period last year, Phillippine January-July export totals jumped 16.2% from US$23 billion to US$26.7 billion.  Electronic product exports rose a healthy 12% accounting for more than half of Phillipine exports while the greatest growth rates came from cathode and petrolium product exports which grew 142% and 100% respectively.

Compared to the same period last year, Phillippine January-July export totals jumped 16.2% from US$23 billion to US$26.7 billion.  Electronic product exports rose a healthy 12% accounting for more than half of Phillipine exports while the greatest growth rates came from cathode and petrolium product exports which grew 142% and 100% respectively.

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philippines

ASIA DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK 2007

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

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philippines

Asian Stocks Up During U.S. Trading

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

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editor picks 

Other Important News In Philippines


Philippines to raise $750 million Bonds

The 10.5-year bonds, (they mature on January 20, 2020, in order to stagger the government's repayment obligations) were at 100.25 by the close of Asian trading yesterday after being re-offered at 99.065. The bonds were priced with a coupon of 6.5%, which at the re-offer price gives a yield of 6.625%. This corresponded to the tight end of the initial yield guidance of 6.625% to 6.75% that was set by the three bookrunners early on during marketing. The guidance was firmed up in the early evening Hong Kong time, when investors got the message that the final yield would be fixed at 6.625%.

The Philippines returned to the Asian bond market on Monday to raise another $750 million towards its gaping budget shortfall, and as expected, investors rallied around and allowed it to price tight. The offering was supported by a significant rally in US equities during the final hours of marketing, which gave investors the confidence to buy despite a sharp contraction in credit spreads over the past few months. It also helped that the sovereign set clearly defined terms which it stuck to throughout the marketing. During the final few hours of the bookbuilding investors even had a fixed yield as a reference point for their investment decisions. "It went out with a finite size and well-defined terms and it didn't move the goal posts. But the tight pricing was also possible because of the deep domestic investor base," said a source close to the offering, who noted that it was primarily the local investors who were driving up the price in the secondary market yesterday too.

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Philippines' Gov May Offer $750 Million Bonds

Developing-nation dollar bonds have rallied this year, pushing the extra yield investors demand to own the debt over U.S. Treasuries to 4.50 percentage points from 6.90 points at the start of the year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s EMBI+ Index. The spread over Treasuries has widened from as low as 4.07 points on June 10, indicating that investors' appetite for risks is waning. "The fiscal situation in the region as a whole is more of a concern now," said Vishnu Varathan, a regional economist at Forecast Singapore Pte. "India highlighted the situation. Economies in the region have a huge impetus to raise funds."

The Philippines plans to sell up to $750 million of dollar bonds to plug a record budget deficit, its second overseas debt issuance this year. The government hired Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG to arrange the sale and the securities due January 2020 will be priced today in New York, according to an e-mail sent to investors. The bond will be priced to yield about 6.625 percent, according to people familiar with the sale, who asked not to be identified. The government is turning to global investors for funds after falling tax revenue and rising economic stimulus spending forced it to revise the budget deficit target three times this year. Emerging-market bond funds have recorded 13 consecutive weeks of net inflows as the world credit crisis eased, according to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research firm EPFR Global.

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Inflation in Philippines Plunged in June

Inflation in the Philippines fell to 1.5 percent in June, from 3.3 percent in May.

June's rate of inflation is significantly different from June of 2008's 11.4 percent inflation. It links back to a plunge in energy prices, according to official figures. In the summer of 2008, the price of crude oil reached more than $140 a barrel, but this summer it is trading at about $65. The country's central bank forecast that inflation will fall to about 1 percent by the third quarter before picking up again in the fourth quarter.

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Philippine Inflation To Ease Further In March

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said inflation is likely to fall within the range of 5.9 percent and 6.8 percent in March due to the downward adjustments in transport fares and electricity rates.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said inflation is likely to fall within the range of 5.9 percent and 6.8 percent in March due to the downward adjustments in transport fares and electricity rates. Inflation in February was at 7.3 percent. The BSP projected inflation to decline to 3.9 percent this year from 9.3 percent las year due to slower economic activities and lower oil and food prices. Inflation is expected to reach 4.7 percent in 2010. The BSP had set an inflation target range of 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent for this year and 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent for 2010.

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Philippine External Debt Continues Decline In November

The Philippines' external debt has declined as of the end of November last year on the back of prepayments and continued economic expansion.

The Philippines' external debt has declined as of the end of November last year on the back of prepayments and continued economic expansion. Consequently, the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio has eased further. The country's external debt declined from $54.427 billion in 2007 to $53.492 billion at the end of November in 2008. The external debt to GDP ratio declined from 40.22 percent in November 2007 to 31.77 percent in November 2008.

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Philippine Factory Output Slumps to Asian Crisis Levels

The National Statistics Office said Tuesday that factory output in January have slumped to levels not seen since the 1997 Asian financial crisis due to the current global economic downturn.

The National Statistics Office said Tuesday that factory output in January have slumped to levels not seen since the 1997 Asian financial crisis due to the current global economic downturn. The country's volume of production index fell in January by 19.9 percent. The country's manufacturing firms have been cutting production since last November with a 6.6 percent contraction and continued in December at -15.4 percent. Factory output declined by 24.4 percent in November 1998, the year when the Asian financial crisis peaked.

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Philippine Government Mulls Insurance For Crisis-Hit Workers

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it is recommending a P6-billion unemployment insurance program for Filipinos who lost their jobs due to the global financial crisis. Such a program would cover 100,000 to 200,000 jobless Filipinos.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it is recommending a P6-billion unemployment insurance program for Filipinos who lost their jobs due to the global financial crisis. Such a program would cover 100,000 to 200,000 jobless Filipinos. NEDA projects that around 60,000 to 200,000 jobs could be lost under the current crisis. The financial assistance, which would be provided by the Social Security System (SSS), could last up to six months, with each member getting either P5,000 or P10,000 a month, depending on the number of beneficiaries.

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Philippine Peso Least Volatile Currency In Asia

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that the Philippine peso has been the least volatile currency in the region, despite the steady depreciation of the peso against the dollar.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that the Philippine peso has been the least volatile currency in the region, despite the steady depreciation of the peso against the dollar. The Philippines' central bank has expressed its confidence that it will not need to intervene to prop up the peso. The peso has only depreciated by 1.55 percent as of Friday. The peso's volatility rate from January up to Friday was recorded at 1.36 percent. A stable peso is important in providing a stable operating environment for businesses that plan ahead based on what they expect the foreign exchange rate would be.

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Moody's Cuts Outlook On Philippine Banks

Moody's Investors Service cut its credit outlook for the Philippine banking industry to negative over the next 12 to 18 months, saying that the slowing economy would have an adverse impact on the profits of local lenders.

Moody's Investors Service cut its credit outlook for the Philippine banking industry to negative over the next 12 to 18 months, saying that the slowing economy would have an adverse impact on the profits of local lenders. The quality of the banks' assets are expected to decline as they are burdened by non-performing assets and slowing economic growth. The declining trend in overseas Filipino worker remittances would also negatively impact the banks' strategic plans and positioning. Moody's still maintains a positive outlook for the Philippine banks' foreign currency deposit and debt ratings as wel las for the country's sovereign ratings.

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Philippines Has Little Room To Hike Deficit – ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that the Philippine government does not have much fiscal room to increase its budget deficit further given the country's current GDP ratios. The ADB also expressed its support to the proposed revenue enhancement measures in Congress. The Philippine government had increased its budget deficit program to P177.2 billion or 2 percent of GDP this year from P102 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that the Philippine government does not have much fiscal room to increase its budget deficit further given the country's current GDP ratios. The ADB also expressed its support to the proposed revenue enhancement measures in Congress. The Philippine government had increased its budget deficit program to P177.2 billion or 2 percent of GDP this year from P102 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP.

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