A More Positive Outlook on Philippine Economy, Claim Polls

More Filipinos are optimistic that their lives and the economy will improve this year, as those who said their lives became better in the past year also rose, a new poll showed.

Personal and economic optimism were found to be “high” and “very high” based on results of the Dec. 8-11 Social Weather Stations survey originally published in BusinessWorld Monday.

Of the 1,200 adults surveyed nationwide, 37 percent expect their lives to improve in 2013 while only 8 percent see things getting worse. This brought the net personal optimism score to +29, up from +27 in the August 2012 survey. Net economic optimism also jumped two points to +19 percent, with 33 percent of respondents optimistic and 14 percent pessimistic.

Change in the quality of life in the past year, meanwhile, was “fair” based on results of the SWS survey. This, as 25 percent of Filipinos reported improved quality of life versus 32 percent who claimed otherwise. The ABC class as well as the “masa” or class D posted “very high” personal optimism scores of +40 and +30 respectively. Class E respondents had a slightly less rosy outlook, but personal optimism in this class remained “high” at +24.

Metro Manila respondents remained most optimistic among with “very high” scores despite a one-point drop to +35. Optimism was also “very high” at +35 in balance Luzon and “high” at +23 in Visayas. Mindanao posted a “fair” optimism score of +19, however.

In terms of the economy, “very high” optimism scores have been recorded across all classes: +28 among the ABC, +19 among the masa and +16 among the class E respondents.

Mindanao posted the lowest economic optimism score of +9 or “high” compared to “very high” scores in all other areas. Economic optimism was recorded at +21 in Metro Manila, +26 in balance Luzon and +11 in the Visayas.

The ABC class posted the highest net percentage of gainers over losers at +29 or “very high.” It stayed “fair” at +7 among the masa and “mediocre” at -17 among class E respondents.

Area-wise, meanwhile, net gainers remained “fair” in Metro Manila at -7 and in balance Luzon with a net zero. It also stayed “mediocre” in Visayas (-13) and Mindanao (-18).

PSEi Breaks 6,000-Point Mark

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) continued its bull run yesterday, reaching and breaking the  6,000-point mark for the first time in 86 years of stock trading. Investors locally and abroad were elevated by the  positive economic news.

The PSEi rallied by 1.23 percent, or 73.46 points, to post another record close at 6,044.91, which is also the new intraday high.

 “We are very proud to have reached and breached the 6,000 level, which affirms that market liquidity continues to be strong and investor sentiment remains positive over good news both locally and abroad,” said Hans B. Sicat, PSE president and CEO.“We also believe that corporate earnings will remain strong for the full year of 2012, which should support the market’s phenomenal performance,” he added.

“Indeed it is more fun at 6,000 and we look forward to setting new records this year.”

Traders flashed the “More Fun at 6,000″ and the number seven (7) signs on the trading floor yesterday (in the photo above) indicating the next crucial index ceiling.

This only means a stronger and more progressive economy for Asia’s Roaring Tiger for 2013.

Public-Private Partnerships to Boost Philippine Economy

By Jason dela Torre

According to Aquino, “The answer to our lack of funds are new and creative ways to address long standing problems. There are a number of investor groups that have expressed interest and confidence in the Philippines. This is the solution: public and private sector partnerships.” He adds that his government plans to shorten the process of build-transfer-operate (BOT) programs in the Philippines, to ensure that foreign and local investments from the private sector would be able to address growing infrastructure problems, and create more job opportunities for the local workforce.

Established by President Aquino under Executive Order No. 8, a Public-Private Partnership Center was recently set-up in the Philippines, to provide assistance to local government units and their attached agencies in the implementation of different projects, as well as to recommend implementation policies, monitor projects, and manage funding under the Project Development and Monitoring Facility. Says Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, “This executive order is just the first of many steps this administration will take to provide our people with the infrastructure they need, the infrastructure required to make our country more attractive to investors.”

The private sector is also doing its part in promoting public-private partnerships in the Philippines: the Philippine Constructors Association (PCA), the PCA Foundation Inc. (PCAF), the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), the Investment Houses of the Philippines (IHAP), and the Research, Education, and Institutional Development (REID) Foundation recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation forming a public-private partnership (PPP) coalition geared toward assisting the Aquino administration in the successful implementation of PPP projects for infrastructure. The coalition is prepared to provide funding, resources and expertise to assist local governments in their respective infrastructure projects.

According to Gregory Kittelson of  Philippines Business Consulting Firm Kittelson & Carpo Consulting, “Public-private partnerships not only promise to restore investor trust in a government once plagued by allegations of corruption, it also enables us to take advantage of the private sector’s expertise in developing lasting, quality infrastructure for public benefit.”


AmCham Journal October 2010 (Promoting Public-Private Partnerships in Infrastructure Development, Enrico Basilio, Jeremiah Acena, Rafael Hernandez, et. al)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703700904575390802484639706.html (Philippines’ Aquino Seeks Public-Private Partnership, Cris Larano, Wall Street Journal Online)

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/09/12/10/aquino-issues-eo-8-creating-public-private-partnership-center (Aquino issues EO 8 creating Public-Private Partnership Center, abs-cbnNEWS.com)

(Philippines’ Aquino: To Pursue Public-Private Partnership To Boost Economy, Cris Larano, Dow Jones Newswires; 632-848-5051;cris.larano@dowjones.com)

OFW Demand Stabiizes Philippine Economy

By: Kathleen Yu
Manpower resources are one of the Philippines’ greatest exports. Presently, over eleven percent of the population are employed as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipino communities are found in almost every industrialized nation in the world. The OFW diaspora regularly injects dollars into the economy in the form of remittances from Filipino professionals working abroad sending money home to their families. This has assisted the Philippine government immensely, and kept the local economy afloat.

There are over 8 million registered Filipinos working abroad with the United States alone employing over 3 million Filipino migrants. Despite the global recession, Filipino professionals working in the US remitted over $17.3 billion in the last year alone, an estimated 5.6% increase from the 2008 figures. Saudi Arabia employs over 900,000 OFWs and the numbers are growing.

Overseas Filipino Workers are appropriately termed “modern day heroes” because of the sacrifices they make in leaving their families to work abroad. Most of them are blue collar workers, employed in jobs like caregiving, nursing and housekeeping.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is a government agency that monitors and assists OFWs working abroad. OFWs are required to register with the POEA, while in the process of applying for working visas and other permits to go abroad. The POEA is also tasked with registering and monitoring recruitment agencies in the Philippines to ensure that no OFWs are led into forced labor, and other forms of abuse.

According to corporate lawyer Amanda Carpo, legal counsel of Makati-based firm Kittelson and Carpo Consulting, “The number of overseas recruitment agencies setting up operations in the Philippines is growing at an exorbitant rate. This is primarily because OFWs are considered a global commodity. Higher salaries and superior living conditions have lured a large number of OFWs abroad, and more and more Filipinos are following in their footsteps. This bodes well for the Philippine economy, which can only stand to gain from an increase in OFW remittances.”

On the other hand, as the Philippines undergoes a change in government and the job market abroad gets continually more competitive the question arises as to whether or not Filipinos will continue to venture abroad, in search of greener pastures. With such a competitive overseas job market, OFWs may be returning home to the Philippines making for highly-skilled overseas trained employees. The Philippine government should be prepared to respond to these scenarios and to support the OFWs who have been and continue to be a positive force in the economy.

Philippine stock market continues upward trek

Philippine share prices reached a fresh year-high on Wednesday, boosted by bullish global markets, analysts said.

The main Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 22.04 points or 0.7114 percent to 3,119.96 while the all shares jumped 10.29 points or 0.5372 percent to 1,925.78.

All six sectoral indices fell into the green zone. Mining and Oil was the day’s biggest advancer, improving 1.5094 percent. The five other sub-indices posted gains between 0.3262 percent and 0.721 percent.

Market breadth was positive with 62 gainers against 45 losers and 57 stocks which closed unchanged


BSP chief: IMF’s zero-growth forecast for RP ‘unlikely’

A flat growth for the Philippines this year, as projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is unlikely to happen, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco.

According to Tetangco, the IMF has been underestimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the past seven years by about 0.5 percent.

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ADB says RP growth to decelerate further


The Philippine economy is likely to decelerate this year, before picking up slightly in 2010, as weak global demand for the country’s goods and services slows down consumption and investment, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a new major report released Tuesday.

ADB’s flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook 2009 (ADO 2009) predicts the country’s economy is likely to expand by 2.5 percent this year -–down from 4.6 percent in 2008 and 7.2 percent in 2007. It forecasts that the economy will recover slightly to 3.5 percent in 2010, assuming that the global economy and trade pick up late next year.

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First Gen P5-B bond downgraded; rater cites debt, lower profit

Philratings lowered its rating for First Gen’s P5-billion bond to A plus — defined as having favorable investment attributes and considered as upper-medium grade obligations.

The rating is four notches lower than the original Aaa rating that the debt watcher had given the company four years ago.

Philratings noted that at that time, First Gen’s liquidity position and financial flexibility were much stronger.

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More firms opting for shorter workweek

Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque said that so far, more workers have been affected by the imposition of flexible work weeks than those who have been retrenched, at 42,000 versus 40,191, respectively, since October last year.

Displacements among overseas Filipino workers have also risen to 5,700, he said.

“Jobs preservation is really important so more companies have opted for flexible work weeks. We are monitoring those companies so that abuses do not occur,” Mr. Roque said.

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Share prices get another boost from blue chips

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) moved up by 1.39% or 25.94 points to 1,885.92, while the all shares index jumped by 0.59% or 7.20 points to 1,212.44.

A total of 612 million shares worth P3.94 billion were traded, with net foreign buying at P16 million.

Decliners lead advancers 49 to 37 while 35 stocks did not move.

Doreen Mijares of IGC Securities, Inc. said the surge in the share prices yesterday was due to PLDT, which rose by 4.11% or P90 to P2,275.

Meralco, on the other hand, accounted for a third of the total value of stocks traded and rose by 2.22% or P2 to P92.

PLDT and Meralco shares also buoyed share prices on Tuesday.

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