MANILA, November 9, 2005
 (STAR) Businessmen should factor the recovery of the local currency into their equations for price movements, said Senator Manuel Roxas Wednesday.

Roxas, chair of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, said that the recent recovery of the peso to the dollar should balance off prices of commodities.

“The timing is actually good,” Roxas said, adding that, “If softening of the peso to the dollar was part of the reason for price hikes, then the recovery of the peso should balance off prices of commodities and keep it steady for a time.”

According to reports, the peso has recovered recently due to the imposition of the VAT law and the influx of overseas Filipino workers’ remittances for the Christmas season.

Reports have indicated that since 2000, food prices in the country have substantially risen, lessening the buying power of the peso to a mere 77 centavos in the last five years.

As of June 2005, the price of rice coming from the National Food Authority has swelled by 8 percent compared to June 2000 levels; Lucky Me noodles by 32 percent; galunggong, 19 percent; eggs, 16 percent; tomatoes, 33 percent; bananas, 22 percent; and pan de sal, 29 percent.

“The recent decision of some oil companies to roll back the cost of petroleum is good news because their announcement matches the movement of prices of oil in the world market,” Roxas said.

He likewise said, “But we are monitoring the prices of flour and wheat products like pandesal as regards their reason to raise prices. A dialogue with the panaderos would help to determine what the industry should do in relation to recent developments in the peso-dollar exchange rate.”

The senator also noted that a stronger peso would soften the impact of the recently imposed VAT law on prices of commodities, but more so, on the public at large.

”The impact of the VAT on prices of commodities, because of its effects on electricity and fuel, is the major concern of most Filipinos today,” Roxas maintained, pointing out that “The strength of the peso could serve as a buffer to give Filipinos a little breathing space.”

Stocks move up by 2.46 percent as peso wobbles slightly 11/09 12:43:04 PM

Shares climbed higher Wednesday due to foreign investing, the index moving up by 50.37 points to end at 2,097.30. The All-Shares market also closed higher by 27.14 points to 1,265.39.

Most of the subindicators closed in the green except for oil, which closed lower by less than a point. The biggest gainer was commercial/industrial, up by 72.37 points.

Trade volume was pegged at 605 million shares worth 1.75 billion pesos. Advancers whipped decliners, 88 against 10, with 40 issues unchanged.

At the foreign exchange market, the local currency was slightly weaker against the US dollar at 54.626 pesos as compared to yesterday's close of 54.650 pesos.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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