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ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | June 21, 2022

June 20, 2022

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PH inflation could hit 8% if Russia-Ukraine conflict drags on — Salceda

The Philippines’ inflation rate could shoot up to 8 percent especially if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, economist and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said Monday. Salceda said the national government has to focus on ensuring food security and the protection of poor Filipinos as prices of commodities soar. 

DESPITE PANDEMIC: PH trade surplus with EFTA grows

The Philippines continues to post strong trade surplus with countries in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) the past two years despite the pandemic. The Philippines’ trade with EFTA — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland first turned from a deficit to surplus of 40.5 million euros in 2019, a year after the free trade agreement (FTA) between them entered into force in 2018. Total trade between the Philippines and EFTA increased by 2.4 percent from 690 million euros in 2018 to 706 million euros in 2019. The surplus further grew to 87million euros in 2020 and 111 million euros in 2021.

PHL needs to ratify RCEP, says Balisacan

The Philippines stands to lose potential foreign investments if it fails to ratify its membership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), incoming Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said. In a June 16 roundtable with BusinessWorld editors, Mr. Balisacan said membership in RCEP would send the signal to investors that the Philippines is “open for business.” “We want to be part of [the] global value chains. If investors [and] international traders don’t see us as a key player in those value chains, then we could not expect investors to think about us. That is important and I think that we need to ratify the RCEP,” he said.

Over P500 billion investment leads to be turned over to next admin

Over P500 billion worth of investment leads in manufacturing, digital infrastructure and services will be turned over for the incoming administration to pursue, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said. “Total estimated value of investment leads equal to over P500 billion in the next 18 months,” outgoing Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters. These investment leads include manufacturing projects such as non-woven textiles for personal protective equipment, exports for international sports and apparel brands; electronics; printers; drones system; electric vehicle systems and infrastructure like charging stations; battery technologies; battery energy storage systems; automotive parts; modern cement plants; integrated iron and steel; and shipbuilding and ship repair.

Government revenue-to-GDP ratio performance seen ranking middle of the pack within ASEAN

The Department of Finance (DoF) said National Government (NG) revenue performance, as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), would place the Philippines at around the median of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In a statement on Monday, the director of the DoF’s Domestic Finance Group, Rowena S. Sta. Clara, was quoted as saying in a report to a recent meeting of the DoF executive committee that the average revenue effort of the Duterte administration between 2016 and 2021 was 15.6% of GDP, the highest in over 20 years.

Norway envoy says 50k jobs possible if foreigners allowed majority stake in renewables

Investors can bring in some "50,000 good-paying jobs" to the Philippines if the country allows foreigners to have a majority stake in renewable energy companies, Norway's ambassador to the Philippines said Wednesday. "The World Bank talks about up to 50,000 jobs, good-paying jobs for Filipinos if you are successful in developing this new sector, [but] that requires some adjustments and policies on the Filipino side," Norwegian Ambassador Bjorn Jahnsen said in a press conference. While the Public Service Act of 2022 now allows foreigners full ownership of companies in industries not designated as public utilities, an official of the Department of Energy was quoted in a newspaper report last year saying that legislation may be needed for foreigners to own solar and wind projects.

Incoming chief economist: PH agriculture already in crisis

The agriculture sector is already in crisis, the country's incoming socioeconomic planning secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief said Tuesday. "Food crisis have risen already. As you know, the avian flu, this problem has been with us that has led to crippling price increases of meat. Rice prices have also been a problem," incoming Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan told CNN Philippines' The Source. Balisacan added that while rice tariffication has slightly brought down the price cap on the staple, they remain high. Farmers are also facing numerous issues such as the low profitability of rice farming and farming in general. "With that, I would say that our agriculture is in crisis," he said.

Marcos overseeing Agriculture Department signifies government's priorities, outgoing chief says

The decision of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to temporarily take the helm at the Department of Agriculture is a welcome development because it shows agriculture will be the incoming administration's top priority, outgoing Secretary William Dar said on Tuesday. "Agriculture is put to the pedestal as a topmost priority of the country," Dar told CNN Philipines. "So this is a positive development," he said. "I have always advocated for agriculture to be given the utmost priority. Now, there is political will of President Bongbong Marcos."

One-stop company registration portal relaunched as Philippine Business Hub

The Philippine Business Hub (PBH), the government’s online business registration portal, was relaunched by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and various other agencies on Monday. “Through the establishment of the PBH, the (number of) days for registering businesses was reduced from 33 and 13 steps to only seven with only one step,” the Bureau of Internal Revenue said in a statement on Monday. At the launch, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Officer-in-Charge Ernesto V. Perez said the ultimate target is to bring down processing time to just one day.

Tourism share to economy higher in 2021, still far from pre-COVID level

The tourism sector contributed more to the Philippine economy in 2021 compared to the year prior, but it still has a long way to go before returning to pre-pandemic level, Philippine Statistics Authority data released Thursday show. The Tourism Direct Gross Value Added (TDGVA) to national economic output was estimated at 5.2%, or around ₱1 trillion. This is slightly up than 2020’s TDGVA, which was 5.1% of gross domestic product, or ₱917.2 billion. However, last year’s figures still pale compare to the ₱2.5 billion, or 12.9% of GDP it tallied in 2019, the year before the global health crisis hit.

The PSA reported that internal tourism expenditure, which consists of inbound and domestic tourism spending, rose 16.3% to ₱810.12 billion last year.

Pres'l adviser Concepcion sees bigger MSME support under Marcos admin

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion sees micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) getting more support under the administration of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday, Concepcion shared what he and Marcos discussed on Wednesday about issues affecting MSMEs, primarily the economy, health, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The Go Negosyo founder described Marcos as "very accommodating and very insightful" during their first in-person meeting in the incoming president's headquarters in Mandaluyong.

Tariff removal on EVs seen by July

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hopes to have the executive order eliminating tariffs on electric vehicles (EVs) issued before Congress convenes in July. DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez noted the importance of the tariff elimination for five years in reducing the price of EVs and in increasing its adoption locally. Lopez said in a television interview over the weekend removing the 30-percent tariff on EVs would bring down the cost of a P3-million imported car by nearly P1 million. Lopez said the DTI wants to attract the entry of more electrified passenger cars, including Tesla. He said results of the public hearing of the Tariff Commission have yet to be released to the Cabinet committee on tariff related matters the DTI co-chairs with the National Economic and Development Authority. “We lacked material time. The final process is for the NEDA board to recommend (the EO) in the last few days of the Duterte administration (or the ) next administration,” Lopez said.

PH, ADB ink $4.3B loan agreement for South Commuter Railway project

Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte and Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa have signed a $4.3 billion loan agreement for a railway project that will reduce travel time between Metro Manila and Calamba in Laguna to just one hour. The South Commuter Railway project is a nearly 55-kilometer line between Manila and Calamba with a total of 18 stations.

Filipinos keen on climate change news and advocacy

More than half of the Filipino respondents in an online poll said they were interested in news about climate change and believe that the media should take a stand when reporting on the issue, according to a global study on news consumption trends. The results of the 2022 Digital News Project of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) and the University of Oxford released on Wednesday showed that interest was highest in several Latin American, Southern European and Asia-Pacific markets.

Short-term local debt yields rise ahead of anticipated BSP rate hike

Rates of short-dated T-bills rose across the board on Monday (June 20) as the local debt market braced for the anticipated, possibly upsized, rate hike by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday. As it capped its borrowing rates, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) raised only P10.5 billion out of the P15 billion, or P5 billion from each of the three tenors, it planned during Monday’s fund-raising. Government securities eligible dealers (GSEDs) pitched to lend a total of P22.6 billion, or 1.5-times bigger than the amount the BTr wanted to borrow. However, as bid rates shot up, the BTr awarded only P3.07 billion in the benchmark 91-day treasury bills. The average yield of three-month debt climbed to 1.759 percent from 1.572 percent last week. The BTr raised P3.62 billion from 182-day IOUs at 2.132 percent, up from 1.934 percent previously. The 364-day securities were awarded at an average annual rate of 2.454 percent, higher than last week’s 2.325 percent, such that borrowings were capped at P3.85 billion for the longest T-bill tenor.

Most global CEOs expect recession – survey

Most corporate leaders worldwide now expect an economic downturn by the end of next year if not sooner, as rising energy prices and the war in Ukraine increases uncertainty, according to a survey released Friday. The survey showed “more than 60 percent of CEOs and top executives globally say they expect a recession in their primary region of operations within the next 12 to 18 months,” The Conference Board said. And 15 percent of the 750 executives, including nearly 450 CEOs, in Asia, Europe and North America, “say their region is already in recession,” the survey showed.

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