ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

IMF hikes growth forecast for PHL

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its GDP growth forecast for the Philippines for this year and 2025. In its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO), the IMF upwardly revised its Philippine growth forecast to 6.2% for this year from 6% previously. This is within the government’s revised 6-7% growth target. “Real GDP growth for 2024 was revised slightly to 6.2% from the January WEO forecast of 6%, reflecting carryover from a better-than-expected outturn in the last quarter of 2023,” IMF Representative to the Philippines Ragnar Gudmundsson said.

NGCP, ECCP sign deal to advance renewable energy development 

In a landmark move toward fostering innovation and sustainability in the energy landscape of the country, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and the ECCP have inked an agreement to formalize their commitment to mutually advocate the utilization of renewable energy resources in the Philippines to increase the country’s power supply and energy generation.

DTI to boost exports with partnerships, FTAs

"The robust export performance in February, following the year-on-year increase of 9.1 percent in the previous month, marks a promising start to the year for the Philippine export sector. The electronics sector is evidently recovering, even catching up with the export figures from two years ago," Trade Secretary Pascual said.

Neda: PHL, investor ‘safe haven’

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said amid the global economic slowdown, geopolitical tensions, and election-related uncertainty in major economies, the country continues to create “compelling reasons” for investors to choose the Philippines as their next investment destination.

Govt, WB seen deepening devt cooperation 

The Philippines and the World Bank Group (WBG) are exploring ways that will deepen their development cooperation and further align the country’s new partnership framework with key priorities of the administration. The Department of Finance (DOF) said Secretary Ralph Recto met with WBG officials, led by regional vice president for East Asia and the Pacific Manuela Ferro on the sidelines of the WBG and the International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington on April 15 to 21.

Outages linked to failure to expand power plants’ capacity

Jose M. Layug, Jr., president of the Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement, Inc., said that there have been forced outages of around 2,500 megawatts (MW) in the past four years during peak or summer months “primarily because of power plants that have been operating for more than 20 years.”

WB, IMF urged to ramp up  support to developing nations 

The Department of Finance (DOF) called on the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to escalate their support to developing countries in addressing challenges that jeopardize their economic growth. This includes providing swift access to short-term liquidity and sustainable long-term financing options.

PHL education faces increasing challenges from climate change

Education governance at the local levels should be the route of countries highly vulnerable to weather and climate disruptions, Mituse Uemura, education advisor of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, said. “A localized approach is needed especially in the context of the Philippines because there’s a huge diversity in terms of the geographical locations and also the climate.”

Rate cut delays seen to slow growth

Higher for longer interest rates will keep inflation at bay but at the cost of slower economic growth, analysts said. “Comments from the governor reaffirm the fact that the current policy stance is restrictive and is in a position to slow economic activity in an attempt to fend off demand side pressures,” ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said.

Marcos orders DOE to fix outages

“In light of the recent Red and Yellow Alerts in the Luzon grid, I have instructed the Department of Energy to closely monitor and coordinate with all stakeholders to address the situation,” the President said. The President also called on all related departments to work together “to ensure a stable power supply for the next couple of days.”

Financial system resources grow by 8% as of Feb.

The total resources of the Philippine financial system reached P30.869 trillion as of end-February, preliminary data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed. Resources of banks and nonbank financial institutions rose by 8% from P28.583 trillion in the same period a year ago. Month on month, resources grew by 0.5% from P30.718 trillion as of end-January.

Real estate market fatigue feared 

Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) sees a resilient real estate market amid the threat of an extended period of high inflationary environment and interest rate that may slow down developments in the sector. Tam Angel, LPC director for investment sales, said a higher for longer interest rate environment could cause a fatigue for the sector that relies on the financial market to finance many of its projects.

Generation, transmission go together, NGCP says 

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) called on the need for more investments in power generation to fully optimize the benefits of the recently strengthened transmission interconnection in the country. “…Transmission and power generation go hand in hand. Sufficient power generation development supported by reliable transmission is the formula for optimized energy development. This will support the country’s push towards economic recovery,” said NGCP, in a statement.

PHL, Singapore exploring energy security, AI tie-ups

The Philippines and Singapore are exploring the possibility of more partnerships in energy security, artificial intelligence (AI), and trade this year, the two countries’ foreign ministers said. Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore businesses are confident in the economic prospects of the Philippines and are keen on building ties in these areas.

ODA to Asia declines 3.7% in 2023 — UN agency

Official development assistance (ODA) to Asia and Oceania declined 3.7% last year, forcing recipients to identify priorities for emergency needs and other projects that require immediate funding, the United Nations Global Crisis Response Group (UNGCRG) said. “At a time when slowing economic growth, rising inflation and other macroeconomic challenges put pressure on aid budgets, dealing with new emergencies is inevitably complex,” the UNGCRG said in a report. ODA is deemed “one of the most stable and predictable sources” of external financing during a crisis, the UNGCRG said.

Energy regulator ‘confident’ in resumption of normal reserve market operations soon

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is confident that the suspended reserve market will soon resume normal commercial operations. “There have been hiccups in the implementation of the reserve market, but we are confident that with the required information to be submitted to the ERC, we can resume normal operations soon,” ERC Chairperson Monalisa C. Dimalanta said.

RCEF needs to be extended, given set percentage of tariffs, DA says

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it supports an extension of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), with an adjusted budget allocation per year. “Definitely, I think it should be extended. But there should be adjustments so we can adapt to the times,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. said. Mr. Laurel added that the DA is finalizing its proposal on adjustments to the funding allocated to RCEF.

More yellow alerts expected in Luzon grid by mid-May

The Luzon and Visayas grids were placed on red and yellow alerts on 16 April after several power plants went on forced outage. The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) said the Luzon power grid will likely experience a shortfall in power supply until May as the majority of hydroelectric power plants are expected to run on derated capacity. “We are [seeing] the threat of power supply deficiency especially since power supply conditions are exacerbated which is expected to impact the hydropower capacity,” Jephraim C. Manansala, chief data scientist at the ICSC, said.

Remolona says rate cut more likely in 2025 on inflation risks

The window for the Philippine central bank to start reducing the key rate in the second half of 2024 is narrowing as the risk that inflation may breach its target for a third straight year rises, according to Philippine central bank Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. “The upside risks have become worse than before, and that’s the reason we’ve stayed hawkish,” Mr. Remolona said. “The policy rate is on the tight side. So, by being hawkish, what we mean is we will stay where we are,” he said.

Hitting 2024 PEDP goal pushed back by 2 years

The Philippines’ goal of hitting the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) target of $143.4 billion in 2024 will be pushed back by two years. “We see a very fluid performance in our exports this year due to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, among other factors,” said Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., in his speech at the group’s second quarter general membership meeting in Makati City yesterday.

Strict enforcement of e-vehicle ban on major roads starts

Citation tickets will be issued starting Wednesday, April 17, to those caught using electric vehicles, particularly e-bikes and e-trikes, on major roads in Metro Manila. The ban took effect on Monday, but Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Don Artes ordered traffic enforcers to warn violators of the new regulation verbally. But starting today, violators will be fined P2,500, while unregistered vehicles will be impounded. Under MMDA Regulation No. 24-022 series of 2024, the use of e-vehicles, such as e-bikes and e-trikes, as well as tricycles, pedicabs, pushcarts and tractor-drawn carts known as “kuliglig” will be prohibited on national, circumferential and radial roads in Metro Manila.

Govt, private agencies urged to consider WFH for employees

SENATE majority leader Joel Villanueva yesterday urged government agencies and private companies to consider the work (WFH) from home arrangement for their employees to help ease traffic congestion in the country. Villanueva reminded government agencies and private companies that RA 11165 or the Telecommuting Act provides an alternative work arrangement that allows an employee in the private sector to work in an alternative workplace using telecom and computer technologies. He said a similar Civil Service Commission memorandum is still in place which can apply to government employees.

DOTr woos foreign investors to fund infra projects

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista is encouraging foreign investors to help finance the country’s major infrastructure projects in aviation, railways, maritime and road transport. The DOTr handles more than 160 projects including 74 infrastructure flagship projects with a cumulative value of P4.78 trillion which are being implemented across various sectors. To expand partnership and collaboration opportunities, Bautista presented the various projects and programs as part of efforts to elevate the country’s transportation system to global standards.

Tough visa regulations, limited airline capacity holding back recovery of travel in Asia-Pacific

STRICTER post-pandemic visa requirements and reduced airline capacity are behind the lagging travel recovery, according to a New York- and Hong Kong-listed international online travel agency. In a briefing on Wednesday, Group Ltd. Managing Director and Vice-President for International Markets Boon Sian Chai said that although the recovery of travel is on track in some Southeast Asian countries, the remainder, including the Philippines, are lagging because Chinese tourists have not returned.

3 priority zones for offshore wind tagged

According to Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), these are located near Manila Bay, Tayabas Bay and Guimaras. “To keep pace with its economic growth and energy security, Southeast Asian countries need to rapidly develop renewable energy, of which wind power has huge room for development. This report explores potential offshore wind power areas for development in the Philippines and identifies specific challenges potentially preventing market readiness for large-scale offshore wind projects,” said Wini Rizkiningayu, Regional Director, RMI Southeast Asia Energy Program.

Digitalization for tax efficiency backed by WB

During a recent high-level meeting between the WBG and the DOF, Finance Secretary Ralph Recto emphasized the DOF’s focus on digitalization to improve tax collection efficiency, especially now that a fourth of Filipino consumers have moved to e-commerce. The bank expressed support for the DOF on this front, emphasizing that it has currently created a new team in the institution dedicated to providing digital solutions to a variety of development programs, especially to those connected to fiscal areas. The WBG is likewise looking to expand these digital service solutions to other areas such as education and health.

Slowing PHL remittances may weaken consumption

“Domestic demand in the Philippines is continuing to struggle, reflecting in large part the oppressive headwinds facing consumers,” Pantheon Macroeconomics Chief Emerging Asia Economist Miguel Chanco and Senior Asia Economist Moorthy Krshnan said. It noted that remittances, which have slowed this year, might fail to boost domestic demand in the coming months.

Philippines in talks with OceanX for marine research 

US-based exploration startup OceanX on Wednesday said it is in talks with the Philippine government to conduct marine research in its waters to help harness the potential of its blue economy. Its flagship vessel OceanXplorer, which carries four deep sea vehicles and four labs, would probably conduct research and exploration activities in Philippine waters next year, science program director Mattie Rodrigue said.

DA seeks to double budget to P513B in ’25 

In a consultative meeting with private agricultural groups, the DA presented a proposal that would more than double its expenditure plan for next year to P513.81 billion from the current budget of P208.58 billion. The higher budget would fund activities that would  modernize the farm and fisheries sectors for increased productivity  and food security.

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