ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | May 3, 2024

May 03, 2024

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

‘Hot money’ outflows rise to $236M in March

Transactions on foreign investments registered with the central bank through authorized agent banks posted a net outflow of $236.02 million in March, significantly higher than the $70.26-million outflows in the same month a year ago.This was also a reversal of the $689.27-million net inflows recorded in February.

BSP sees April inflation at 3.5-4.3%

The central bank’s month-ahead forecast showed that inflation likely settled within the 3.5%-to-4.3% range in April. This is slower than the 6.6% print in April 2023. The upper end of the forecast would exceed the 2-4% target band for the first time in four months. On the other hand, the lower end would be slower than the 3.7% inflation recorded in March.

No need to revise revenue targets yet — Finance chief

There is no need to revise revenue targets yet as the government is still on track to meet its fiscal targets on the back of efforts to enhance tax administration, Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto said.  This year, the government is expected to generate P4.3 trillion in revenues, equivalent to 16.1% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Marcos calls for review of wage rates

The regional boards should consider economic challenges such as inflation in conducting wage reviews, Mr. Marcos said.“As president, I call on the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board to initiate a timely review of the minimum wage rates in their respective regions, with due consideration to the impact of inflation among others, within 60 days prior to the anniversary of their latest wage order,” he said.

NG debt slips to P14.93 trillion as of end-March

The National Government’s (NG) outstanding debt slipped to P14.93 trillion as of end-March, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reported. Data from the BTr showed that NG debt stock dipped by 1.67% from the record-high P15.18 trillion as of end-February due to the net redemption of government securities.

Proposed Luzon corridor expected to attract more investments from businesses de-risking from China

Through the ambitious project that aims to focus on high-impact infrastructure, the Philippines can offer itself as an “alternative investment location” for US and Japanese investments leaving China for friendlier shores, said George N. Manzano, a trade expert at the University of Asia and the Pacific. “The corridor will likely enhance the ability of the Philippines to participate in the global supply chain by increasing efficiency through better logistics, as well as opening business opportunities for supplier industries,” he said.

Debt trade rise boosts claims of other financial corporations

Domestic claims of other financial corporations (OFCs) in the Philippines grew by 15% in Q4 2023, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, according to the BSP. Net claims on the central government increased by 21.5%, while claims on depository corporations grew by 20%. The total domestic claims of OFCs stood at P9.055 trillion in Q4 2023, up from P8.818 trillion in the third quarter of 2023 and P7.873 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Govt falls short of borrowing target

The Philippine government raised only P94.734 billion in April, missing its P150 billion target from the tender of long-term government securities due to high asking yields from investors. The Bureau of the Treasury made a partial award of reissued 20-year Treasury bonds, raising P27.476 billion at an average rate of 7.058 percent, higher than the previous 7-year yield.

Govt eyes ₱210 billion in local borrowings

The Philippine government plans to borrow P210 billion from the local debt market this month, an increase from April’s P195 billion. The Bureau of the Treasury aims to raise P150 billion through Treasury bonds and P60 billion through Treasury bills. The government’s 2024 borrowing plan has been increased to P2.57 trillion, up by 4.47% from the previous target.

Over P541-M worth of aid given to 10 El Niño-affected regions

The NDRRMC has provided PHP541 million in aid to ten regions in the Philippines affected by the El Niño phenomenon. The El Niño phenomenon is expected to persist until May 2024, causing drought in many areas and leading to a state of calamity declaration in at least 131 cities and municipalities. The El Niño Task Force has instructed the Bureau of Fire Protection to ensure the safety of public hospitals and health facilities.

ERC to suspend WESM trading when Luzon and Visayas are under red alert

“Due to the extreme heat, electricity consumption has risen, adding to the price hike. (On Tuesday) the ERC acted to temporarily suspend the operation of the WESM when the system operator or NGCP (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines) declares a red alert,” President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said. In an order dated April 30, the ERC said WESM trading will be suspended for the Luzon and/or Visayas grid during red alerts based on notices issued by the system operator or NGCP.

Warm, humid weather to prevail in most parts of PH – Pagasa

Warm and humid weather brought by the easterlies will continue even until over the weekend except for isolated downpours or thunderstorms in the late afternoon or at night, Pagasa said. Weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio of Pagasa said it has not monitored any tropical cyclone forming or entering the country's area of responsibility probably until the second week of the month.

Maharlika keen on funding key BCDA projects

Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC)  will explore possible investment opportunities in key projects of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which has a pipeline of airport and cheap housing undertakings. MIC signified this interest when it sealed a memorandum of understanding with BCDA last April 29. MIC was represented by its president and CEO, Rafael Consing Jr., while BCDA chief Joshua Bingcang signed on behalf of the firm.

PHL trade talks with UAE expected next week  

Undersecretary Allan B. Gepty of the Department of Trade and Industry told reporters that the Philippines will start the first round of talks on May 6. “That is, of course, a very important free trade agreement (FTA) for the Philippines given that we have a lot of professionals and also businesses in the UAE,” Mr. Gepty said.

Citing gains from RCEF, agri dept vies for fund extension to 2030

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is calling on the House of Representatives to extend the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) created under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) until 2030. The DA cited RTL’s significant gains for the rice industry, particularly in increasing the country’s rice output and providing more resources to help farmers. RCEF represents tariffs collected from rice imported by the private sector since the law took effect in  2019. The fund is allocated for the modernization of the rice industry.

Microinsurance premium collections up 17.35% in ’23

Microinsurance providers posted higher premium collections in 2023, as more Filipinos sought affordable protection plans especially amid growing threats from climate change. Total premiums collected under microinsurance policies amounted to P13.54 billion last year, a 17.35-percent increase from the amount generated in 2022, the Insurance Commission (IC) reported.

Marcos orders swift action on electric vehicle plan

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered the Department of Energy and other agencies to expedite the electric vehicle (EV) development plan, focusing on public transportation. This aligns with the deadline for jeepney operators to consolidate under the public utility vehicle modernization program. The government aims to boost local EV manufacturing and battery charging mechanisms, and streamline battery charging and maintenance for commercial fleets. Currently, only 0.001% of vehicles in the country are electric, but the government aims to increase this to 50% by 2040. However, concerns exist over the environmental and human rights issues linked to the raw materials used in EV batteries.

Production of minerals for clean energy insufficient, says UN

According to a study by UN Trade and Development, demand for lithium could rise by more than 1,500 percent by 2050, with similar increases for other minerals required to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, and electric car batteries.

Health insurance coverage low for poor Filipino elders

The Philippines was cited as one of two countries that “stand out” in developing Asia and the Pacific for having relatively low health insurance coverage of poor older people, according to a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The report titled, Aging Well in Asia, said those in the poorest quintile account for 47 percent of all uninsured people in the Philippines. The other country mentioned in the report was the People’s Republic of China, at 35 percent.

FFF pitches Rice Tariffication Law revisions

THE Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) proposed amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), including giving the chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA) control over the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and additional tariff collections in excess of P10 billion. FFF noted that RTL had a provision which provided for the release of funds to, and direct implementation of programs by individual implementing agencies under RCEF. This bypassed the DA secretary and the DA’s regular operational structure. The group’s proposals were contained in a document it submitted to the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, which is currently holding hearings on the RTL.

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