MANILA, August 11, 2005
 (STAR) 08/10 1:04:56 PM - Consolidation once more ruled at the Philippine stock market Wednesday, the index breaching the 2,000-level to close higher by 20.41 points to 2,010.41.

The All-Shares market also closed higher by 8.54 points to end at 1,218.54.

Most of the subindicators reflected this upward movement except for the oil sector, which closed lower by less than point. Mining was the biggest gainer with 76.24 points.

Volume traded was at 1.09 billion shares worth 1.08 billion pesos. Advancers beat decliners, 46 against 17, with 56 issues unchanged.

At the foreign exchange market, the local currency was trading slightly stronger against the US dollar at 55.837 pesos as compared to yesterday's close of 55.875 pesos.

Philippine exports grow slightly by 1.1 percent 08/10 11:52:35 PM

MANILA (AFP) - Philippine exports grew by 1.1 percent year-on-year in June to 3.35 billion US dollars despite a drop in exports of electronic products, the National Statistics Office said Wednesday.

This was an improvement over the 0.9 percent export growth that was posted in May, the office said, updating an earlier report that exports rose by 1.1 percent in that month.

For the first six months of the year, merchandise exports were up 3.3 percent from a year earlier to 19.4 billion dollars, the office said.

The government had forecast exports to rise eight percent this year.

Analysts said the June export figures suggest that the government's target of eight percent export growth this year may not be attainable.

"The realistic target now is five to six percent which factors-in expectations that the US economy will perform better in the second half," said Jonathan Ravelas, market strategist at Banco de Oro Universal Bank.

Electronic products were the number one export product, accounting for 2.17 billion dollars or 64.8 percent of total shipments in June. This was a 4.7 percent reduction over the same period last year.

The June figures showed a continuation of the downturn of 4.1 percent in electronic exports posted in May.

However shipments of semiconductors, which are considered part of electronic products, were up 2.4 percent at 1.61 billion dollars.

Apparel and clothing accessories was the second top export sector, accounting for 187.8 million dollars or 5.6 percent of total exports in June. This was a 6.1-percent reduction over last year.

Other export sectors like ignition wiring systems, petroleum products, coconut oil and copper cathodes all rose in June over the same period last year, statistics office figures showed.

The United States remained the biggest market for Philippine exports receiving 569.6 million dollars or 17.0 percent of total exports for that month but this was a 1.2 percent reduction over the same period last year.

Shipments to Japan accounted for 15.4 percent of the total at 515.47 million dollars.

China was the third largest market for Philippine exports in June, with shipments rising by 79.8 percent to 372.62 million dollars or 11.1 percent of total export receipts.

More flexible exchange rate regimes seen in Asia after revaluations: ADB 08/09 5:02:24 PM

MANILA (AFP) - A revaluation of the Chinese and Malaysian currencies last month could lead to a "greater exchange rate flexibility" in the region, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report Tuesday.

While immediate impacts of the twin moves were too early to assess, the ADB said they were welcome moves that could have "profound economic implications" over the long-term, the Manila-based lender said.

By removing the fixed pegs of the yuan and ringgit, China and Malaysia now have greater freedoms in utilizing monetary policies to achieve domestic macroeconomic goals.

It would also lessen the need for "costly sterilization of foreign exchange inflows" by the two countries' central banks, the ADB noted.

Other countries in the region that were previously constrained from letting their currencies appreciate for fear of losing export competitiveness in the face of the yuan and ringgit's pegs to the dollar would also benefit, the ADB said.

"These measures by China and Malaysia would foster greater exchange rate flexibility in Asia as a whole," the ADB said.

China on July 21 announced that it was adopting a managed floating exchange rate regime based on market supply and demand. It effectively freed the yuan from an 11-year-old peg to the US dollar in favor of a trade-weighted basket of currencies.

Monetary authorities allowed the yuan to appreciate 2.1 percent to 8.11 to the greenback, but kept details of the currency basket unclear to thwart speculators.

Malaysia on the same day announced it would unhinge the ringgit's peg to the dollar.

Depending on the success of the revaluations, other countries in the region may be encouraged to do the same and laying the groundwork for "regional exchange rate coordination" in the future, the ADB said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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