MANILA, September 16, 2005
 (STAR) (AFP) Philippines President Gloria Arroyo and her China counterpart Hu Jintao discussed increased investments and energy security on the sidelines of the recent UN summit, Manila said Friday.

Following the bilateral meeting between Arroyo and Hu in New York, "we can expect more vigorous trade between the Philippines and China as well as more investments from China particularly in the area of mining," Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said in a statement.

The meeting "also provided an important opportunity for the president to discuss energy security particularly the continued rise in oil prices," Romulo added.

Arroyo believes it is important to consult with major consumers of oil in order to pursue a "global solution to the oil issue," Romulo added.

In his visit here in April, Hu witnessed the signing of agreements for a 950-million-US dollar Chinese nickel mining venture in the Philippines as well as 10 million dollars in prospective investment in oil and gas exploration off the coast of the western Philippine island of Palawan.

Low success rate for ADB projects in Philippines, PNG, South Pacific. 09/16 3:09:11 PM

MANILA (AFP) - An in-house audit has found that Asian Development Bank (ADB) project lending has a low success rate in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the small island economies in the Pacific, the Manila-based institution said Friday.

A report found a success rate of "more than two thirds" in Bhutan, China, Mongolia, the central Asian republics, Maldives, as well as the Greater Mekong subregion.

However, "the project success rate in the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines was below 50 percent."

The bank approved 5.3 billion dollars in loans and 196.6 million US dollars in technical assistance last year, of which 200 million dollars went to Manila.

The ADB said that in general, "projects in the infrastructure sector have consistently had high success rates, while projects in the agriculture sector and for lines of credit to government-owned development finance institutions have a lower probability of success."

At the same time, "economic forecasts of project benefits have also been found to be consistently over-optimistic and the risks typically faced by ADB projects not sufficiently identified and mitigated," it added

The report nonetheless concluded that the quality of ADB projects has improved over time, particularly following efforts to devote more resources to portfolio management and loan administration in the early 1990s.

Last year the ADB adopted a reform agenda to boost its development impact.

Shares gain slightly as local currency weakens 09/16 1:16:04 PM

Shares bounced back Friday due to bargain-hunting, the index closing slightly higher by 6.71 points to 1,909.80.

The All-Shares market also closed higher by 2.22 points to 1,166.46.

All of the subindicators closed in the green, with commercial/industrial the biggest gainer by 12.24 points.

Trade volume was pegged at 741 million shares worth 1.67 billion pesos. However, decliners beat advancers, 30 against 26, with 49 issues unchanged.

At the foreign exchange market, the local currency slipped against the US dollar at 56.117 pesos during mid-day trades as compared to yesterday's close of 56.070 pesos.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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