PALACE'S FLIP-FLOPPING ON HOLIDAY SOWS CONFUSION AMONG TRADERS

MANILA, August 30, 2005
 (STAR) By Zinnia B. Dela Peña - Trading at the stock market resumes today after the government amidst much confusion declared yesterday, Monday, a special non-working public holiday in observance of National Heroes Day.

Amid the confusion sowed by the sudden announcement of a public holiday, PSE president Francis Lim said the exchange issued notices to the business and private sector Sunday that there would be no trading yesterday in light of the holiday declaration.

Lim said the bourse is automatically closed when there is no trading at the Philippine Dealing System, the local foreign exchange electronic trading system.

"We told ANC and other local channels that the stock market will be closed. After I got word from the central bank that the PDS would be closed, I immediately instructed my staff to make the necessary announcements to our friends from the media to help us inform the business community and the investing public as well," Lim said.

Banks, however, were open for business yesterday since the holiday covers only government offices as well as all public and private schools except for agencies with emergency functions and the Bureau of Customs.

Analysts expect local stocks to trek upwards this week as investors take advantage of the low prices of some stocks. Players are also seen to take positions in the market on expectations that the Supreme Court would lift the temporary restraining order on the implementation of the expanded value-added-tax (EVAT) law.

Online stock portal 2tradeasia.com said the expected revenue that will be raised from the tax measure will be among the basis for international credit rating agencies’ next verdict on risk premium for the Philippines, which will also create a bearing on listed firms’ borrowing charges.

"In our view, there is a high chance for barometers to revert back to 2,000 in case a resolution is made on EVAT, on or before the end of August. Otherwise, knee-jerk reactions are to be expected, although the impact will likely be cushioned by cash-rich investors that have seized on lulls to position in favorite counters," 2tradeasia.com said.

Accord Capital Equities Corp.’s Ron Rodrigo, however, said investors will continue to monitor the impeachment complaint filed against President Arroyo.

2tradeasia.com said some investors are taking a second look at mining issues, being the lead sector that led the market’s advance early this year.

Analysts said the move of local monetary authorities to maintain benchmark interest rates will provide enough respite for the bourse and support improved consumer spending towards the final leg this year.

Immediate support is pegged at 1,920 while resistance is seen hovering 1,950 to 1,980.

Economists forecast that the Philippine economy may still grow five percent this year on expectations that domestic demand, supported by remittances from overseas Filipino workers, will remain strong in the second half.

Clear announcement on holidays next time, Palace vows By Aurea Calica The Star 08/30/2005

Oops.

Malacañang admitted it blundered its announcement of a holiday yesterday and said it would try to comply with the request of employers and the public to make announcements earlier and more clearly.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the confusion could have been avoided about Monday’s holiday following National Heroes’ Day.

"There was a gap actually. As far as the broadcast media is concerned, the news is very clear but we were not able to catch the deadline as far as the print media was concerned. What was referred to already in broadcast was not immediately reflected in print," he said.

Bunye said the Palace will try to announce holidays sooner in advance but asked that Malacañang be given some leeway.

"We don’t want to paint ourselves into a corner. These schedules are general guides. I believe any announcement will have to be made in advance as much as possible," he said.

The private sector, the businessmen and the public were thrown into a tizzy over Malacañang’s flip-flop in declaring the Monday holiday.

Meanwhile, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) complained yesterday that the declaration of too many holidays was costing businesses a lot of money.

"There have been too many holidays lately. These holidays affect the operations of any business... because it impacts on projected deliveries, export orders and production output," ECOP president Rene Soriano said.

He noted that in the manufacturing sector, the operation and maintenance of machines and equipment are affected when schedules get changed by the sudden declaration of special non-working holidays. — With Mayen Jaymalin


News editor-in-chief: Sol Jose Vanzi

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