© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org 

BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

INVESTORS CAUTIOUS ON NEGATIVE NEWS, SAY FOREIGN GROUPS


DECEMBER 1 -Schumacher (left) and Lundqvist
Negative news is bad for business, and what is bad for business could spell doom for the economy. The “laglag-bala” or bullet planting scam in the country’s airports has not yet made a dent on the Philippine economy yet, but it poses the threat of wounding the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination if it is not addressed immediately. “Investors are certainly not amused and will question the ability of the Philippine government to deal with issues affecting business,” European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) executive vice president Henry Schumacher told The STAR. The Philippines continues to be recognized as one of the top-in-mind attractive destinations among investors globally due to its sustained robust economic growth rates, according to foreign business groups in the country. The country’s economy improved six percent in the third quarter of the year, the third fastest growth in Asia next to China’s 6.9 percent and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent. Last year, foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country even soared to a record high of $6.201 billion from $3.737 billion in 2013. FDI inflows this year, however, have plunged. FDIs declined 35 percent in the seven-month period from a year ago. Although the bullet planting and allegations of extortion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has nothing to do with this downtrend yet, it may have implications moving forward. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy back from Europe, bares new investments


DECEMBER 6 -President Aquino
MANILA, Philippines – Aside from gaining support for the country’s various advocacies, President Aquino said yesterday his visit to France and Italy has unlocked new investments as well as job opportunities for Filipinos. On his return to Manila yesterday, Aquino said he was “really delighted to come home to our country, especially when we again carry good news with us” from his meetings with business groups and with government leaders, including Pope Francis. In his speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 upon his arrival from Rome, Aquino said Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) France Asia president Ken McKnight told him about CRH’s investing P2.3 billion more in its P60-billion Lafarge-Holcim venture in the Philippines as part of plans to make the country its investment hub in Southeast Asia. CRH supplies raw materials and finished products for construction applications and distributes supply products to professional building contractors and homeowners. The President also reported that Jacobi Carbons Group, which opened its P517-million manufacturing facility in Cagayan de Oro last September, also plans to expand its operations in processing coconut shells as component for its activated carbon filters. Aquino, who met the company’s chief executive officer Anders Skeini while in Paris after meeting with CRH, said the firm’s Cagayan de Oro plant is its biggest in the world. Its new investment in the country would provide 2,850 direct and indirect jobs to Filipinos, Aquino said, quoting Skeini. “The first ones to benefit from this are our local coconut farmers, who will help supply coconut shells for the said company,” Aquino said. Jacobi Carbons Group specializes in activated carbon derived coconut shell, various grades of coal and wood. The Sweden-based firm was founded in 1916. READ MORE...RELATED, Aquino gushes over PH-made, high-tech French toothbrush...

ALSO China joins IMF currency basket: Why it matters


DECEMBER 5 -Chinese President Xi Jinping enjoying a glass of red. China is x. Photo: Greg Bowker – Pool/ Getty.
BEIJING - The addition of China's yuan to the select basket of currencies used as a yardstick by the International Monetary Fund is a sign, experts say, that the yuan may one day become as recognizable as the dollar or euro.
Adding the yuan alongside the dollar, euro, pound and yen is a symbolic victory for Beijing. It reflects the rising importance of the world's second-largest economy and is an endorsement of gradual Chinese moves toward making the currency freely traded. Currency traders and economists see the change as encouragement to Beijing to make faster progress on promises to make the yuan "freely tradable" and open its financial system. WHAT HAPPENED READ MORE...READ MORE...

ALSO: Inflation jumps to 1.1% in November


DECEMBER 3 -Inflation kicked up to 1.1 percent in November from a record low of 0.4 percent in October due to a sharp increase in food prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.
Last month’s inflation fell within the 0.4 to 1.2 percent forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as inflation likely bottomed out at 0.4 percent in September and October. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said monetary authorities would monitor external developments as inflation bottomed out in September and October with credit and domestic liquidity growth rates also stabilizing. “These signal that our stance of policy right now is appropriate,” he said. The Monetary Board is set to hold its last policy-setting meeting for the year on Dec. 17. The central bank has kept interest rates steady for ninth straight policy setting meetings since October last year. Tetangco said the BSP would continue to monitor developments, particularly actions of advanced economies including the decision of the impending normalization of interest rates by the US Federal Reserve as well as the decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) to cut interest rates. “The ECB cut rates a bit shallower than some anticipated. We will see how the balance of this, possible US lift off this month and further moves from Chinese authorities would impact on domestic price and growth dynamics,” Tetangco said. Inflation averaged 1.4 percent in the first 11 months of the year from 4.3 percent in the same period last year. This was lower than the BSP inflation target of between two and four percent this year. The rise in the consumer price index was primarily due to the higher annual rate in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index as it advanced by 1.7 percent from a previous month’s growth of 0.7 percent. The government also noted faster annual increments in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; health; transport; recreation and culture; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services. Excluding selected food and energy items, core inflation went up 1.8 percent in November from 1.5 percent in October. READ MORE...

ALSO: Zuckerberg’s huge pledge reflects a new era in philanthropy


DECEMBER 4 -In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, chief of staff Dr. Jim Marks looks over the new lobby of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco. A new public hospital building was furnished and equipped in part by a $75 million gift from Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician who gained her medical training at the old San Francisco General Hospital. AP
NEW YORK — The huge philanthropic pledge by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, totaling perhaps $45 billion, reflects the emergence of a new Gilded Age of giving. The changes excite many in the charity world but also raise questions about effectiveness, ethics and the impact on older charities that may not share in any windfall.
Foremost, there is applause for the new wave of philanthropists, led over the past five years by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and subsequently joined by Zuckerberg and scores of other billionaires in the United States and abroad. The Giving Pledge, founded in 2010 by Gates and Buffet, now has 138 billionaire signatories from 15 countries who have pledged to give away more than half of their wealth. Many, including Zuckerberg, want to be personally engaged in the oversight and management of their pledged funds, and are finding nontraditional ways of leveraging them.Amir Pasic, dean of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, drew parallels between these modern-day philanthropists and those from the earlier Gilded Age, roughly a century ago, when the Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller families pioneered a new type of charitable foundation. “This new generation also is innovating — they have good reason for worrying that doing things the way they were done before may not succeed,” Pasic said. “They’ve been disrupters in their industries, and they’re looking to be disrupters in some of their philanthropic work.” READ: New dad Zuckerberg to give away $45-B FB fortune to make better world for children Pasic drew another parallel between the two Gilded Ages. In both eras, he said, income inequality was a glaring reality that seemed to accentuate the power and responsibilities of the super-rich. “There’s a recognition that they should work to fix some of those problems,” Pasic said. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, detailed their pledge on Tuesday, promising to commit 99 percent of their Facebook stock holdings to fighting disease, improving education and other causes. Their new organization will pursue its goals through a mix of charitable donations, private investment and promotion of government policy reform. According to Facebook, the new initiative will be organized as a limited liability company, rather than as a nonprofit foundation, potentially giving it the ability to do political lobbying. To some experts on philanthropy, that’s an area of concern. READ MORE...

ALSO: ADB TRIMS GROWTH FORECAST FOR PH


DECEMBER 4 -The Asian Development Bank (ADB) trimmed its growth forecast for the Philippines this year to 5.9 percent from the previous outlook of 6 percent to reflect lower-than-expected growth in the third quarter.
In a supplement to the September 2015 Asian Development Outlook Update report, the ADB said net external demand weighed on the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first three quarters of the year. The agency said it reflects brisk expansion in imports on strong domestic demand and only a modest rise in merchandise exports. “The unexpectedly sharp drop in net external demand prompts a small downward revision in the growth forecast to 5.9 percent in 2015,” the multilateral bank agency said. On the other hand, the ADB’s growth forecast for the Philippines next year is maintained at 6.3 percent. The Philippine economy grew by 6 percent in the third quarter, bringing growth in the first three quarters to 5.6 percent. The National Economic and Development Authority earlier said making a 6 percent full-year growth is very much likely given even better prospects for the last quarter. “Private investment recorded robust expansion, and household spending was supported by higher employment, low inflation and remittance inflows from Filipino workers overseas,” the ADB said. “Government expenditure accelerated rapidly, with public expenditure rising by 41.2 percent in the third quarter as budget execution was enhanced. On the supply side, services and manufacturing were the key growth drivers,” it added. The ADB also slashed its inflation forecast for the Philippines this year to 1.6 percent from the previous projection of 2 percent. “Inflation averaged 1.4 percent in the first 10 months of 2015 but could pick up in the coming months because of the increasingly severe El Nińo and the weakening of the peso, which has fallen by 5 percent against the US dollar in the year to mid-November,” the publication said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Investors cautious on negative news, say foreign groups


Schumacher (left) and Lundqvist

MANILA, DECEMBER 7, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  By Richmond S. Mercurio  Updated December 1, 2015 - Negative news is bad for business, and what is bad for business could spell doom for the economy.

The “laglag-bala” or bullet planting scam in the country’s airports has not yet made a dent on the Philippine economy yet, but it poses the threat of wounding the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination if it is not addressed immediately.

“Investors are certainly not amused and will question the ability of the Philippine government to deal with issues affecting business,” European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) executive vice president Henry Schumacher told The STAR.

The Philippines continues to be recognized as one of the top-in-mind attractive destinations among investors globally due to its sustained robust economic growth rates, according to foreign business groups in the country.

The country’s economy improved six percent in the third quarter of the year, the third fastest growth in Asia next to China’s 6.9 percent and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent.

Last year, foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country even soared to a record high of $6.201 billion from $3.737 billion in 2013.

FDI inflows this year, however, have plunged. FDIs declined 35 percent in the seven-month period from a year ago.

Although the bullet planting and allegations of extortion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has nothing to do with this downtrend yet, it may have implications moving forward.

READ MORE...

“I do not think that, at this point, the previous incidents would in a big way affect investor confidence. If allowed to continue, however, this type of incident may contribute to damage the security reputation of the Philippines, which is one of the factors potential investors for sure will look at,” Nordic Business Council Philippines (NBCP) president Bo Lundqvist told The STAR.

NBCP promotes and facilitates trade, commerce, industry, and investment between the Philippines and the Nordic (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) and Baltic (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) countries.

The “laglag-bala” or “tanim-bala” scam at NAIA has gained prominence not only in the country, but even in other countries in Asia and the United States, placing fear and concern on both local and foreign travelers alike.

Lundqvist said the Philippines’ reputation as a safe and easy place to do business should be protected, if the country wishes to continue enjoying its status as an attractive investment destination.

In the World Bank’s October report gauging economies in terms of ease of doing business, the country’s ranking dropped six notches to 103rd from last year’s 97th spot across 189 economies.

Schumacher said aside from the Philippines’ reputation, tourists, overseas Filipino workers and business travelers are the ones currently suffering from the prevalence of the bullet planting modus.

In terms of sector, foreign business group executives said it is obviously the country’s tourism industry that would take the biggest blow should the scam continue and remain unaddressed.

“If this catch on further international press, most probably if the incidents target foreign arrivals, it will for sure affect the tourism industry. This industry is volatile and potential security threats can immediately cause cancellations of large number of incoming tourists for a long period of time,” Lundqvist said.

The tourism sector is one of the bright spots seen in further expanding the Philippine economy.

The contribution of the tourism industry to the economy was estimated at 7.8 percent last year and is currently the third largest dollar earning industry of the Philippines next to semiconductor and business process outsourcing industries.

But if there is any consolation for the country at present, it is that the bullet planting modus has yet to make its impact on the local tourism industry.

“I did a quick survey of lots of APEC guest and only about one third even knew about it and that third, while thinking it was creative and a bit funny or strange, certainly didn’t think it was a headliner and didn’t understand why it kept making news,” American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines executive director Ebb Hinchliffe said.

“There has been a limited number of incidents of which only a few have involved foreigners. I do not think that at this point, these incidents will bring harm to the Philippine economy. Neither do I think it reflects on the majority of airport workers in the Philippines. However, if it is not swiftly addressed by the government, it may create further bad press for the Philippines,” Lundqvist added.

Department of Tourism (DOT) assistant secretary Art Boncato Jr. assured the DOT would extend all efforts to work with all sectors to ensure guests are accorded the kind of hospitality the Filipinos are celebrated for.

Boncato said the country is now pushing towards exceeding the five million mark in foreign arrivals by the end of the year.

“Things are looking up with our Visit the Philippines Again 2016 tactical campaign. The DOT’s mandate is to grow tourism because it is about providing food on the table of many communities who rely on it,” Boncato said.

Foreign business groups are now calling for the immediate solution to such extortion scheme which has been allegedly targeting migrant workers and tourists.

Schumacher said the modus should have been stopped and eradicated the minute it became known.

“First impressions for tourists and visiting businessmen last,” Schumacher said, urging the government to replace the management of NAIA to solve the issue.

“That management cannot even provide taxis. If you arrive at Terminal 3 in the late afternoon or early evening, there are long lines of passengers waiting for transport. Of course, you can get a taxi for three times the normal rate – with official receipt,” he said.

For Lundqvist, he said it is important for the government to conduct a proper investigation into the matter, with the objective of finding the perpetrators and use the full force of the law to sentence them.

“If the Philippine government can resolve the issue in a transparent and permanent way, I believe it will not cause significant harm,” he said.

“I would also like to see the government enforcing transparent security measures in place at all airports, preventing airport staff from at any part of the airport harassing passengers. Perhaps added to that, airport staff may need education in customer service and their important role as first line representatives of the Philippines as foreign travelers arrive here,” Lundqvist added.


PHILSTAR

Noy back from Europe, bares new investments By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 6, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from gaining support for the country’s various advocacies, President Aquino said yesterday his visit to France and Italy has unlocked new investments as well as job opportunities for Filipinos.

On his return to Manila yesterday, Aquino said he was “really delighted to come home to our country, especially when we again carry good news with us” from his meetings with business groups and with government leaders, including Pope Francis.

In his speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 upon his arrival from Rome, Aquino said Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) France Asia president Ken McKnight told him about CRH’s investing P2.3 billion more in its P60-billion Lafarge-Holcim venture in the Philippines as part of plans to make the country its investment hub in Southeast Asia.

CRH supplies raw materials and finished products for construction applications and distributes supply products to professional building contractors and homeowners.

The President also reported that Jacobi Carbons Group, which opened its P517-million manufacturing facility in Cagayan de Oro last September, also plans to expand its operations in processing coconut shells as component for its activated carbon filters.

Aquino, who met the company’s chief executive officer Anders Skeini while in Paris after meeting with CRH, said the firm’s Cagayan de Oro plant is its biggest in the world. Its new investment in the country would provide 2,850 direct and indirect jobs to Filipinos, Aquino said, quoting Skeini.

“The first ones to benefit from this are our local coconut farmers, who will help supply coconut shells for the said company,” Aquino said.

Jacobi Carbons Group specializes in activated carbon derived coconut shell, various grades of coal and wood. The Sweden-based firm was founded in 1916.

READ MORE

The President, who flew to France to attend the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) summit on climate change, also visited the Usine IO’s facilities and was shown a smart toothbrush, which sends information to user’s smart phone app to indicate if the brushing is done correctly.

“This hi-tech toothbrush was designed in France but made in the Philippines by Filipinos,” Aquino said.

Usine IO is a membership-based workshop in Paris that helps provide innovation in manufacturing. It also assists inventors concretize their ideas.

The President said he also met with officers of Sanofi Pasteur, a known pharmaceutical company, which would like to introduce affordable vaccine in the Philippines for four strains of dengue.

Aquino said he likewise spoke with Airbus representatives regarding growth prospects in the aerospace industry.

Airbus Group is composed of Airbus, which manufactures commercial aircraft; Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defense and Space which produces fighter jets, among others.

Its subsidiary in the Philippines, Airbus Helicopters Philippines Inc. (AHPI), sells brand new and pre-owned helicopters and operates a service facility for helicopter maintenance and a training center for technicians.

---------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino gushes over PH-made, high-tech French toothbrush
By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:48 AM December 5th, 2015


(ROME, Italy) President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the Meeting with the Filipino Community in Rome at the Leptis Magna I & II Function Room of the Ergife Palace Hotel for his Official Visit to the Italian Republic on Thursday (December 03, 2015). (Photo by Joseph Vidal/ Malacańang Photo Bureau)

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the Meeting with the Filipino Community in Rome at the Leptis Magna I & II Function Room of the Ergife Palace Hotel for his Official Visit to the Italian Republic on Thursday (December 03, 2015). (Photo by Joseph Vidal/ Malacańang Photo Bureau)

ROME—When President Benigno Aquino III gets back in Manila this weekend, the first thing he’ll do is look up the company that manufactures a high-tech toothbrush being exported to France.

He wants to find out if he had brushed his teeth the right way, a straight-faced Mr. Aquino told a crowd of some 500 Filipinos here, saying he found out about the ingenious device while attending the climate change summit in Paris earlier this week.

“This shows great engineering. Imagine, technology squeezed in a tiny thing like a toothbrush,” the President told the crowd of mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Thursday. “The ones who make it, and I take great pride in it, are fellow Filipinos. Designed in France, this high-tech toothbrush is manufactured in the Philippines,” he added.

The toothbrush has an app on a smartphone that indicates if its users are brushing their teeth the proper way. The President did not name the company but said it was one of several Philippine companies he learned about at the climate change summit.

Purely for export

He described the company as one that produces prototypes and studies the manufacturing process before products are mass-produced. The toothbrush was apparently “too high-tech” that neither he nor his Cabinet secretaries have seen one yet, Mr. Aquino said.

“It seems that this (toothbrush) is (manufactured) purely for export. That’s why when I get back on Sunday—because I will arrive on Saturday—on Sunday, I will ask to find this (company) and (check) its manufacturing facility,” President Aquino said, adding in jest that the toothbrush made him “conscious” about whether he had brushed his teeth the right way earlier in the morning.

That toothbrush manufacturer illustrates the great strides that the country’s industrial sector had made under his administration, President Aquino said in his speech before the Filipino community here.

While the President went on to cite the economic gains under his administration, a number of his listeners expressed disappointment about the Chief Executive’s failure to mention the OFWs and the government’s policies on them.

The good news

Taking a swipe at the Philippine media, Mr. Aquino said he wanted to balance the mainly negative news being reported.

“Most likely, the news that you receive isn’t always complete … allow me to share the good news,” he said.

The President said that last week, just before he left for his working visit to Europe, the economy marked a six percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the third quarter of the year.

For the past five years, Mr. Aquino added, the Philippines has had an average of 6.2 percent GDP growth, the fastest five-year average growth in the country’s economy in the last four decades.

The President also cited the lower unemployment rate, the boom in infrastructure projects, a healthy tourism program and the arrest of fugitives and communist rebel leaders.

RELATED STORIES

Vatican leaders believe in PH peace process— Aquino

Aquino in Paris for climate talks, unity vs terrorism

Failure not an option for PH delegation to Paris climate talks


PHILSTAR

China joins IMF currency basket: Why it matters By Joe McDonald (Associated Press) | Updated December 1, 2015 - 5:41am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Chinese President Xi Jinping enjoying a glass of red. China is x. Photo: Greg Bowker – Pool/ Getty.

BEIJING - The addition of China's yuan to the select basket of currencies used as a yardstick by the International Monetary Fund is a sign, experts say, that the yuan may one day become as recognizable as the dollar or euro.

Adding the yuan alongside the dollar, euro, pound and yen is a symbolic victory for Beijing. It reflects the rising importance of the world's second-largest economy and is an endorsement of gradual Chinese moves toward making the currency freely traded.

Currency traders and economists see the change as encouragement to Beijing to make faster progress on promises to make the yuan "freely tradable" and open its financial system.

WHAT HAPPENED

READ MORE...

The IMF added the yuan to the basket of currencies used to calculate the value of Special Drawing Rights, a notional currency used as the standard for dealing with its member governments. That came after IMF staff concluded in a Nov. 13 report that the yuan was "freely usable," meaning widely used for international transactions and widely traded in foreign exchange markets.

The IMF created SDRs in the 1960s as a possible international currency, but they failed to gain wider acceptance. Until 1980, the basket was 16 currencies including Iran and South Africa but that was reduced.

Following the global financial crisis, Beijing called in March 2009 for creation of a new currency, possibly based on the SDR, to reduce reliance on dollars but failed to attract support.


The axes on the chart above are different — the growth in the Chinese economy, relative to the globe and the United States, the world largest economy, are clear. Which is why news over the weekend that Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, and her staff are going to be recommending the inclusion of the Chinese currency, the CNY or RMB, in the IMF’s basket for special drawing rights (SDR),is so important. The IMF announcement said: IMF staff assesses that the RMB meets the requirements to be a “freely usable” currency and, accordingly, the staff proposes that the Executive Board determine the RMB to be freely usable and include it in the SDR basket as a fifth currency, along with the British pound, euro, Japanese yen, and the U.S. dollar. BUSINESSINSIDER ONLINE BY GREG MCKENNA NOV 16, 2015, 3:30 PM

WHY ADD THE YUAN?

China is the second-biggest economy after the United States and the biggest trader. The yuan is the No. 4 currency for global trade, accounting for about 2.5 percent of the total, according to SWIFT, the organization for interbank financial transfers.

Beijing controls the flow of money into and out of its economy but has encouraged the use of the yuan abroad, especially for trade, which helps Chinese exporters by eliminating the cost and risk of volatile exchange rates.

Since 2009, China has signed currency swap agreements with central banks in Britain, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and other countries. Branches of Chinese state-owned banks in Britain, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, France and Singapore have received authorization to take deposits or settle trade-related transactions in yuan.

IMPACT ON GLOBAL FINANCE

The SDR has no direct link to financial markets or private business. Over time, the IMF decision might prompt central banks to hold more reserves in yuan.

JP Morgan economist Haibin Zhu said yuan holdings might rise to 5 percent of global reserves, or about $350 billion, over five years. That might encourage more use of yuan for trade and investment.

"Longer term, this is a huge step," said Stephen Innes, chief trader for the currency firm OANDA in Singapore. "Once investors become more comfortable with Chinese markets, especially if they continue to progress with opening policies and make the same strides they did over the past year, international markets will really embrace Chinese capital markets."

IMPACT ON CHINA

Economists say the IMF decision could encourage Chinese leaders to further relax controls on the yuan. The ruling Communist Party's latest five-year development plan says the yuan will be "freely tradable and freely usable" by 2020.

The surprise August introduction of a new mechanism for setting the government-controlled exchange rate led to a 3.5 percent devaluation. But the country's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, said in September that there were no plans for further declines.

Some traders worry Beijing might devalue once it achieved its goal of being added to the IMF basket. But others say Chinese leaders want to be seen as reliable. The yuan's addition is "an endorsement as an international currency," said Chen Kang, chief bond analyst for SWS Research Co. in Shanghai. "That will encourage China to adopt more measures toward accelerating the process of the opening of its foreign exchange markets and capital markets."

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

The yuan's government-set exchange rate still follows the dollar despite the new mechanism for setting its value.

For now, that makes the yuan a dollar in disguise, according to Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Until the yuan is allowed to trade freely, the IMF decision will "increase the dollar's importance," said Scissors in an email. "Those governments or investors hoping for a dilution of dollar dominance for portfolio diversification or political reasons are getting exactly the opposite."


PHILSTAR

Inflation jumps to 1.1% in November By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 5, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Inflation kicked up to 1.1 percent in November from a record low of 0.4 percent in October due to a sharp increase in food prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.

Last month’s inflation fell within the 0.4 to 1.2 percent forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as inflation likely bottomed out at 0.4 percent in September and October.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said monetary authorities would monitor external developments as inflation bottomed out in September and October with credit and domestic liquidity growth rates also stabilizing.

“These signal that our stance of policy right now is appropriate,” he said.

The Monetary Board is set to hold its last policy-setting meeting for the year on Dec. 17. The central bank has kept interest rates steady for ninth straight policy setting meetings since October last year.

Tetangco said the BSP would continue to monitor developments, particularly actions of advanced economies including the decision of the impending normalization of interest rates by the US Federal Reserve as well as the decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) to cut interest rates.

“The ECB cut rates a bit shallower than some anticipated. We will see how the balance of this, possible US lift off this month and further moves from Chinese authorities would impact on domestic price and growth dynamics,” Tetangco said.

Inflation averaged 1.4 percent in the first 11 months of the year from 4.3 percent in the same period last year. This was lower than the BSP inflation target of between two and four percent this year.

The rise in the consumer price index was primarily due to the higher annual rate in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index as it advanced by 1.7 percent from a previous month’s growth of 0.7 percent.

The government also noted faster annual increments in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; health; transport; recreation and culture; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.

Excluding selected food and energy items, core inflation went up 1.8 percent in November from 1.5 percent in October.

READ MORE...

At the national level, annual mark-ups were higher in the indices of eight out of the 11 commodity divisions. The indices of communication and education retained their last month’s rates while the index of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels continued to exhibit a negative rate of 1.2 percent.

On an annual basis, the food index accelerated 1.7 percent in November from 0.7 percent in October.

A double-digit annual growth of 12 percent was recorded in the vegetable index while faster annual add-ons were also seen in the indices of other cereals, flour, cereal preparation, bread, pasta and other bakery product at 1.2 percent; meat, 0.9 percent; fish and fruit, both at 3.6 percent; and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery, 3.9 percent.

The rest of the food groups moved slower with the index for corn having a zero growth. Declines were however, observed in the indices of rice at -2.4 percent and oils and fats, -0.1 percent.

Inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) picked up to one percent in November from 0.2 percent in October, while inflation in areas outside NCR leaped by 1.1 percent from 0.5 percent.

The BSP has further lowered its inflation forecast to 1.4 percent instead of the previous projection of 1.6 percent because of the continuing softening of oil prices as well as other food prices.

Likewise, inflation forecast for 2016 was reduced to 2.3 percent instead of 2.6 percent and for 2017 to 2.9 percent instead of three percent amid the continued decline in oil and other commodity prices as well as an economic growth fueled by continued consumer spending. – With Ted Torres


INQUIRER

Zuckerberg’s huge pledge reflects a new era in philanthropy
@inquirerdotnet Associated Press 08:30 AM December 3rd, 2015


In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, chief of staff Dr. Jim Marks looks over the new lobby of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco. A new public hospital building was furnished and equipped in part by a $75 million gift from Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician who gained her medical training at the old San Francisco General Hospital. AP

NEW YORK — The huge philanthropic pledge by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, totaling perhaps $45 billion, reflects the emergence of a new Gilded Age of giving. The changes excite many in the charity world but also raise questions about effectiveness, ethics and the impact on older charities that may not share in any windfall.

Foremost, there is applause for the new wave of philanthropists, led over the past five years by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and subsequently joined by Zuckerberg and scores of other billionaires in the United States and abroad.

The Giving Pledge, founded in 2010 by Gates and Buffet, now has 138 billionaire signatories from 15 countries who have pledged to give away more than half of their wealth. Many, including Zuckerberg, want to be personally engaged in the oversight and management of their pledged funds, and are finding nontraditional ways of leveraging them.

Amir Pasic, dean of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, drew parallels between these modern-day philanthropists and those from the earlier Gilded Age, roughly a century ago, when the Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller families pioneered a new type of charitable foundation.

“This new generation also is innovating — they have good reason for worrying that doing things the way they were done before may not succeed,” Pasic said. “They’ve been disrupters in their industries, and they’re looking to be disrupters in some of their philanthropic work.”

READ: New dad Zuckerberg to give away $45-B FB fortune to make better world for children

Pasic drew another parallel between the two Gilded Ages. In both eras, he said, income inequality was a glaring reality that seemed to accentuate the power and responsibilities of the super-rich.

“There’s a recognition that they should work to fix some of those problems,” Pasic said.


Mark Zuckerberg welcomes baby girl Max, pledges to give away 99% of Facebook shares. By Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY 8:28 p.m. EST December 1, 2015

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, detailed their pledge on Tuesday, promising to commit 99 percent of their Facebook stock holdings to fighting disease, improving education and other causes. Their new organization will pursue its goals through a mix of charitable donations, private investment and promotion of government policy reform.

According to Facebook, the new initiative will be organized as a limited liability company, rather than as a nonprofit foundation, potentially giving it the ability to do political lobbying. To some experts on philanthropy, that’s an area of concern.

READ MORE...

“With sums of that size, where should we draw the line?” asked Kathleen McCarthy, director of the Center for the Study of Philanthropy at the City University of New York. “What role should the uber-rich have in shaping public policies and public opinion?”

She noted that Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and some other contemporary philanthropists are eager to invest in entrepreneurs and for-profit companies, a trend which she said could blur the boundaries between business and philanthropy.

In the US, the funds that do go to nonprofits are generally accompanied by significant tax benefits. In effect, said professor Ray Madoff of Boston College Law School, this means that the large-scale donors are able to tackle charitable initiatives under their own name with funds that might otherwise have financed government programs.

“We say, ‘Wasn’t Person X very generous,'” Madoff said. “But that person’s investment is actually subsidized up to 60 percent by the rest of us, so there’s a significant public investment in this.”

Another consequence, Madoff said, is a relatively smaller share of charitable gifts in the US going to traditional charities such as United Way and the American Red Cross. The biggest gainers, she said, have been donor-advised funds, which enable donors to make a charitable contribution, immediately receive a tax benefit, and then recommend grants from the fund at any time thereafter.

This trend has raised some concerns, since large sums of money can sit idle in the funds’ accounts for years at a time rather than going to immediate charitable use.

“Why don’t they make the gift directly to the charity, to address a particular need now?” asked Dwight Burlingame, a professor at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Pasic, the school’s dean, noted that most other countries have less robust charitable sectors than the US and rely more on government funding.

In China, he said, the new wave of billionaires “have nowhere to put their money. There’s not a nonprofit ecosystem that deals with issues like hunger and homelessness.”

While the Giving Pledge has attracted 138 signatures, there remain many billionaires who’ve made no such public commitments.

Zuckerberg and Chan, in announcing their pledge, said potential donors “should not wait to give back.”


MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

ADB TRIMS GROWTH FORECAST FOR PH By ANGELA CELIS December 04, 2015

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) trimmed its growth forecast for the Philippines this year to 5.9 percent from the previous outlook of 6 percent to reflect lower-than-expected growth in the third quarter.

In a supplement to the September 2015 Asian Development Outlook Update report, the ADB said net external demand weighed on the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first three quarters of the year.

The agency said it reflects brisk expansion in imports on strong domestic demand and only a modest rise in merchandise exports.

“The unexpectedly sharp drop in net external demand prompts a small downward revision in the growth forecast to 5.9 percent in 2015,” the multilateral bank agency said.

On the other hand, the ADB’s growth forecast for the Philippines next year is maintained at 6.3 percent.

The Philippine economy grew by 6 percent in the third quarter, bringing growth in the first three quarters to 5.6 percent.

The National Economic and Development Authority earlier said making a 6 percent full-year growth is very much likely given even better prospects for the last quarter. “Private investment recorded robust expansion, and household spending was supported by higher employment, low inflation and remittance inflows from Filipino workers overseas,” the ADB said.

“Government expenditure accelerated rapidly, with public expenditure rising by 41.2 percent in the third quarter as budget execution was enhanced. On the supply side, services and manufacturing were the key growth drivers,” it added.

The ADB also slashed its inflation forecast for the Philippines this year to 1.6 percent from the previous projection of 2 percent.

“Inflation averaged 1.4 percent in the first 10 months of 2015 but could pick up in the coming months because of the increasingly severe El Nińo and the weakening of the peso, which has fallen by 5 percent against the US dollar in the year to mid-November,” the publication said.

READ MORE...

“Still, inflation to date has been milder than expected, prompting downward revisions to the 2015 forecast,” it added.

Meanwhile, the ADB report said GDP growth across Southeast Asia is projected at 4.4 percent in 2015 and 4.9 percent in 2016, which are the same as the previous Update.

Inflation projections for Southeast Asia on the other hand are revised down slightly to 2.8 percent from 3 percent for 2015, and to 3.3 percent from 3.2 percent for 2016, because of downward revisions for several economies.

The ADB also said Asia’s developing economies remain on track to post growth of 5.8 percent in 2015 and 6 percent in 2016, as the region’s economies remain resilient to continued economic weakness in industrialized countries.

“Although we have seen some softening in a number of economies, the broader regional outlook is for continued steady growth,” ADB chief economist Shang-Jin Wei said.

“The region’s growth is supported by vibrant private consumption in the PRC and expanded industrial production in India and other countries. At the same time, countries reliant on commodities are hurting from the global slump in prices, and the slower-than-expected recovery in the US and economic contraction in Japan will continue to weigh on export prospects,” he added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2015 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE