Archive for September 2010

RP exports slowly recovering

September 29, 2010

The Philippines’ merchandise exports are slowly recovering this year after a big decline last year as a result of the global financial turmoil. Here are some figures:

January to July exports, in $ billion:

  • 2008, 30.06
  • 2009, 20.54
  • 2010, 28.22

Full year exports, in $ billion:

  • 2008, 49.08
  • 2009, 38.44

source: http://www.census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/2010/tr100701.htm

The consolation for non-recovery of this year’s exports to their 2008 level, is that remittances from OFWs are kicking fast. The foreign exchange inflow from such overseas remittances is helping the economy increase its forex reserves.

The stronger peso though, hovering at below P44 to the US$ for several days now, should be hurting many exporters. The still weaker US economy (ie, “weaker” compared to pre-financial turmoil levels in 2007 to early 2008) should be the main reason why demand for the US$ is also weak.

RP Government streamlining

September 27, 2010

The Office of the President (OP) of the Philippines recently abolished 10 agencies under it, in a move to streamline operations under it. The move is projected to result in savings in annual budget of some PhP 305 million. The agencies abolished are:

  • Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group
  • Presidential Anti-Graft Commission
  • Mindanao Development Council
  • Office of the North Luzon Quadrangle Area
  • Office of External Affairs
  • Minerals Development Council
  • Luzon Urban Beltway Super Region
  • Bicol River Basin Watershed Management Project
  • Office of the Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change
  • Office of the Presidential Adviser on New Government Centers.

Removing certain agencies that add fiscal burden to the already tight annual budget of the government, unburdening taxpayers in the process, and strengthening those agencies that have primary obligations for certain tasks, is among the bright moves of the new administration.

RP’s total external debt has flattened

September 25, 2010

The bad news is that the Philippines’ total external debt as of March 2010 was $55.42 billion.

The good news is that this level has actually flattened and not increased since eight years ago. Here are the numbers.

Philippines’ total external debt, in US$ billion.

  • 2000, 51.21
  • 2001, 51.90
  • 2002, 53.64
  • 2003,  57.40
  • 2004,  54.85
  • 2005, 54.19
  • 2006, 53.37
  • 2007, 54.94
  • 2008, 53.86
  • 2009, 53.27
  • March 2010, 55.42

source:  http://www.bsp.gov.ph/statistics/spei_new/tab17.htm

The only major difference in the composition of the country’s foreign debt is that the share of banking creditors has declined from around $11 billion average for 2000 to 2007, to only $6.6 billion in 2009-2010. Most of the country’s debts are now with private bondholders/noteholders. From an average of $14 billion in 2000-2002, it’s now up to $20 billion in 2009-2010.

Rising OFW remittances

September 24, 2010

Remittances by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) keeps increasing, even for last year where the global financial turmoil was really bad. Here are the figures, in $ billion:

  • 2003,   7.58
  • 2004,   8.55
  • 2005, 10.69
  • 2006, 12.76
  • 2007, 14.45
  • 2008, 16.43
  • 2009, 17.35
  • 2010, Jan-July, 10.68

At $1.6+ billion per month recently, hitting between $18.5 to $19.0 B for this year is not a far out  possibility.

— by LG

Declining unemployment rate, Philippines

September 23, 2010

The National Census Office’s (NSO) latest quarterly labor force survey for July 2010 has been released about a week or two ago. The result was interesting. Compared to July 2009:

(a) unemployment rate has declined fr 2009’s 7.6 percent to this year’s 6.9 percent.

(b) underemployment rate has also declined from 2009’s 19.8 percent to this year’s 17.9 percent. Data source: http://census.gov.ph/data/pressrelease/2010/lf1003tx.html

The underemployed are those who already have jobs but either (i) working below 40 hours/week, or (b) working over 40 hours/week and still looking for additional work, mainly to augment their income.

If we add unemployment + underemployment rate, that’s still high, 24.8 percent of the labor force. But the important point to remember is that such numbers should decline through time.

— by LG

Low unemployment rates in Asia

September 22, 2010

One indicator of how dynamic an economy is, is the size or percentage of their unemployment rate. More business development means more jobs created, which means less unemployment, less poverty.

Below is the list of selected countries and their respective unemployment rate, in percent. Unless specified, numbers are as of August 2010.

  • US, 9.6
  • Canada, 8.1
  • Mexico, 5.7 (July)

 

  • Spain, 20.3 (July)
  • Greece, 11.6 (June)
  • Belgium, 11.3 (May)
  • France, 10.0 (July)
  • Italy, 8.4 (July)
  • UK, 7.8 (July)
  • Germany, 7.6

 

  • China, 9.6 (2009)
  • Indonesia, 7.4 (February)
  • Philippines, 6.9 (Q3)
  • Japan, 5.2 (July)
  • Taiwan, 5.2 (July)
  • Hong Kong, 4.3 (July)
  • Malaysia, 3.7 (June)
  • S. Korea, 3.4
  • Singapore, 2.2 (Q2)
  • Thailand, 1.5 (May)

source: The Economist, September 16, 2010 issue.

Low unemployment rates mean many people have jobs and have good purchasing power capacity.

— by LG

World’s top 10 financial centers

September 21, 2010

A news report today says Hong Kong joins New York and London as top finance center, according to a London-based think tank, Z/Yen Group. The top 10 financial centers are:

  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Singapore
  5. Tokyo
  6. Shanghai
  7. Chicago
  8. Zurich
  9. Geneva
  10. Sydney

In the top 10, 4 are from Asia, 3 from Europe, 2 from the US and 1 from Australia. Just another proof of how dynamic many Asian economies and cities have become.

Manila is just between Hong Kong and Singapore. Minus the governance problems, commerce and finance in the Philippines should have good potentials by virtue of its geographical location.

— by LG