Local stocks resumed their upswing Friday as investors cheered the Securities and Exchange Commission’s softer stance on foreign ownership and improved outlook on the global economy.
The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 33.18 points or 0.55 percent to finish at 6,051.75.
“The mere signal of a direction toward imposing the foreign ownership restriction to common or voting shares appears to have been well-received by the market. It seems to also have had an immediate impact of supporting the upward movement of the market. We are hopeful that the government can issue rules or guidelines pertaining to foreign ownership that will not be deemed disruptive to investor behavior while remaining faithful to the ruling issued by the Supreme Court in this matter,” PSE president Hans Sicat said.
The SEC has indicated that it might adopt more market-friendly rules than the draft issued for comments last year.
The counters that benefited the most were mining/oil (+2.13 percent) and services (+1.46 percent). Only the property counter (-1.13 percent) ended in the red. Value turnover was heavy at P9.43 billion. There were 116 advancers that edged out 52 decliners while 42 stocks were unchanged.
“The market volume of P9.4 billion can be attributed to strong foreign buying. We may look forward to overall new highs,” said Ramon Garcia, president of brokerage RTG & Co.
Index heavyweight PLDT surged 1.97 percent on news that the SEC was no longer keen on imposing a 60-40 percent local-foreign ownership requirement on each class of shares in partly nationalized industries like utilities. Doris C. Dumlao
(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 14, 2013 - 12:00am
When the PSE Index breached the 5,000 level in March last year (5000, March 5, 2012), President Aquino visited the PSE and rang the opening bell to celebrate this milestone. Our president was so optimistic about our economy and our stock market performance that he challenged brokers to reach the 6,000 level for the PSE Index. PSE chairman Titoy Pardo, who also made a speech that day, replied, “The difficult takes a while, the impossible a bit longer.”
After reaching 5,000, the PSE Index traversed 1,000 points and reached another milestone – the 6,000 level – in just 10 months. Many say that the PSE Index will probably slow down in 2013 as valuations start to look expensive after a record-setting performance in 2012. However, the performance of the PSE Index for the first two weeks of the year shows that it is poised to deliver another strong showing for 2013.
More fun at 6000
The 6,000 level was first reached when the PSE Index closed at its intraday high of 6,044.91 last Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. When 6,000 was reached, traders at the exchange were seen flashing placards saying “More Fun at 6000.” They also gleefully gestured “7” with their fingers, clearly referring to 7,000, which is the next round number milestone for the PSE Index. With the PSE Index breaching milestone after milestone, those who participated in our stock market would really think that stock investing is more fun in the Philippines (Stock Investing: It’s more fun in the Philippines, January 16, 2012).
2012 Scorecard: Philippines, a top performer
2013: Philippines – leading the pack
Starting Dec.r 28, 2012, the PSE Index had been up seven straight days before it experienced a decline. Moreover, the index was up in seven out of the first eight days of 2013. Net foreign buying has continued to be strong and has already amounted to P18.5 billion for the first two weeks of 2013. As a result, the PSE Index is once again the top performing stock market in the early part of 2013.
Proving the skeptics wrong
Many foreign houses have repeatedly recommended an underweight on the Philippine stock market for the last 3 years, citing the historically high valuation for Philippine stocks. What they have repeatedly underestimated is the certainty, quality and strength of the earnings growth of Philippine corporates. The continued strong performance of the PSE Index since the start of this bull market has proven these skeptics wrong.
How to join the bull party
Most of our readers and clients, especially those with little or no exposure to Philippine stocks, have been asking when or how to best enter our stock market. Some of them are worried that the current levels might be too high as our stock market has repeatedly established new all-time highs. Though buying on dips will likely be more profitable, we believe that corrections, especially short-term ones, are extremely hard to predict. Since there are many factors that precipitate corrections, it is difficult to gauge exactly when they will happen. Moreover, it is difficult to predict how long or how deep corrections will be. Even professional traders and experienced investors often make mistakes in predicting the exact duration or magnitude of corrections.
Peso cost averaging
In a bull run such as what we are witnessing now, it is better for prospective investors or those with little exposure to the stock market to just get in gradually. We would advise investors who cannot monitor the stock market on a daily basis to use peso cost averaging to gradually increase their exposure to Philippine stocks. Peso cost averaging refers to a technique which entails buying a fixed peso amount of investments on a regular schedule, regardless of prices. It can mean buying once a week, once every two weeks or once a month. This technique allows investors to buy more shares when prices are lower and less shares when prices are higher.
Investors applying this kind of buying technique should not be interrupted or shaken out by corrections. Since there are concerns about our stock market’s current valuation, corrections will give investors a chance to increase their exposure to Philippine stocks at cheaper levels. We think that corrections will always be there as they are part and parcel of a bull market. Despite their repeated occurrence, we believe that corrections will not change the fundamentals and the growth story of this bull market.
Central Banker of the Year for Asia Pacific
Recently, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. was named Central Banker of the Year for Asia Pacific for 2012 by The Banker. Incidentally, he was also named Central Bank Governor of the Year for Asia for 2012 by Emerging Markets, an affiliate of Euromoney. BSP’s policies have immensely contributed in insulating our economy from various global macroeconomic headwinds and tempering the peso’s appreciation despite strong foreign fund inflows (Is the peso too strong?, Dec. 31, 2012).
Finance Minister of the Year
Similarly, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Cesar Purisima was named Finance Minister of 2012 by Euromoney. DOF’s actions have strongly contributed to the country’s solid fiscal performance. This gives the government enough fiscal leeway to actively pursue investments in infrastructure, which we believe are essential in propelling our country to the next level of economic growth.
Structural changes and sustained growth
Under the leadership of President Aquino, his Cabinet and government leaders such as Purisima and Tetangco, the Philippines is clearly in a better position than its bigger or more developed counterparts. Many developed countries, such as the US and those in Europe, are grappling with ballooning fiscal deficits, persistent sovereign debt problems and slow economic growth. Through the years, our country has undergone a series of structural changes that will enable it to deliver sustained economic growth. Now that the country has shown that it can deliver high GDP growth, we share the sentiment of various credit rating agencies and some enlightened government officials that the focus will now be on sustaining GDP growth at the five to seven percent level. This will not only lead to more inclusive economic growth but it will also be a crucial underpinning of a sustained bull market in Philippine stocks and Philippine assets. We will discuss in our next articles the structural changes that caused this secular bull market and the reasons why investing in the Philippine stock market will continue to be profitable.
For further stock market research and to view our previous articles, please visit our online trading platform at www.wealthsec.com or call 634-5038. Our archived articles can also be viewed at www.philequity.net.
(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 14, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Share prices are expected to trade at a tight range this week with investors repositioning extra cash during declines.
Positive leads will likely come in the local front through corporate and government spending, an analyst said.
“For now, range-trading might be felt following the Philippine Stock Exchange index’s uptrend since December last year,” said Freya Natividad, investment analyst at brokerage firm 2Trade-Asia.com.
“Most boost would come from expectations of aggressive government and corporate spending in the first half,” Natividad said.
Week-on-week, the PSEi, the gauge of the local stock market’s performance, jumped 1.34 percent or 80 points to close at 6,051 driven by hefty gains in mining and oil firms (up 5.36 percent) and industrial companies (up 1.78 percent).
Last week, the bellwether PSEi pierced the 6,000 mark, closing at a new all-time high of 6,091.18 on Wednesday before pulling back on Thursday due to bright outlook on economic growth this year.
Natividad said declines this week will allow investors to reposition excess cash into the stock market.
“Start selecting stocks that have lagged versus market counterparts, especially those that would benefit most from improved fiscal and corporate spending focus this year,” Natividad said.
Overseas, investors might focus on economic numbers in the US particularly on inflation and the jobs market.
In Asia, attention will be in China, specifically on the country’s ability to recover from consumer demand slowdown, Natividad said.
2Trade-Asia.com pegged immediate support level at 6,000 and resistance mark at 6,100-6,150.
Local stocks are seen to challenge record highs this week as the overhang from the foreign ownership restriction issue has been lifted.
Last week, the main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index gained 1.33 percent to close at 6,051.75.
The PSEi’s best finish was so far at 6,091.18 recorded on Jan. 9 this year while the intraday peak was at 6,098.14 posted the following day.
BPI Securities said that for this week, the PSEi would be inclined “to breach its new record high as foreign inflows are expected to enter into the picture, boosted by foreign ownership issue relaxation as well as a likelihood of an upgrade in rating this year.”
The SEC indicated last week that it was no longer keen on imposing a 60-40 percent local-foreign ownership restriction on each class of shares as originally intended arising from a controversial Supreme Court ruling on the capital of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Citing an “entry of judgment” received by the SEC from the Supreme Court on Jan. 9, SEC chairperson Teresita Herbosa said it was clarified that the “dispositive” portion of the SEC decision dated June 28 was that the term “capital” as referred to in the Constitution “refers only to shares of stock entitled to vote in the election of directors, and thus in the present case, only to common shares and not to the total outstanding capital stock (common and non-voting preferred shares).”—Doris C. Dumlao
The local stock index may surge further to 7,100 by the second half of this year but should consolidate in the near term given that most key stocks are at all-time highs and vulnerable to profit-taking, according to Macquarie Capital Securities (Philippines) Inc.
In a Jan. 7 equities research written by Macquarie analysts Alex Pomento, RJ Aguirre and Aaron Salvador, it was projected that the stock market rally should be sustained as economic and corporate earnings growth remained strong.
Macquarie is expecting the domestic economy to expand by 6 percent this year, on pace with last year’s growth, underpinned by rising investments, consistent inflow of remittances from Filipinos abroad and the growing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. It estimates that investments would grow by 12 percent this year, continuing the “decent” growth in the first nine months of 2012.
Macquarie is projecting remittances to grow by 5 percent this year to $22.5 billion while BPOs are seen generating revenues of almost $14 billion, or 20 percent higher year on year.
But with the stock market now up by as much as 42 percent (US dollar terms) in the past 12 months, Macquarie said it was “ripe for investors to take money off the market at this stage until we see new catalysts that could propel the market to new highs.”
At its Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) target of 7,100, this would translate to a valuation of 21x the expected 2013 earnings, falling to 17.7x the likely earnings for 2014—at the upper end of the trading range of the market in the past five years.
“Our optimism is based on the potential upside surprise in the earnings outlook—in our view, the market is factoring in low earnings expectations at only 10 percent, which we believe makes current valuations look artificially high—and our expectation that the peso-dollar (exchange rate) should appreciate by 5 percent to P39 by yearend, providing additional gains for foreign investors that enter at this level of the market,” the report said.
Moreover, Macquarie said Philippine corporate balance sheets remained healthy, with a gearing (debt-to-equity ratio) of only 41 percent in 2012 with a return on equity of 16 percent.
“In addition, we believe the upcoming midterm elections should provide additional boost to the overall income of sectors that are highly linked to elections like consumer companies, retailers, fast-food chain, telecoms and media,” the report said.
When earnings upgrades are factored in on its PSEi target, the report said this would translate to 13x the expected earnings for 2014—at the lower end of the price to earnings range of 10x to 18x over the past 10 years.
The stocks favored by Macquarie based on potential upside to its target prices are Banco de Oro, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Security Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and SM Development Corp.
Macquarie said BDO would continue to be the leader in loan growth, with an estimated annual growth of 15 percent over the next three years.
In the case of Metrobank, the research said that among the top three banks in the country, it was in the best position to capture loan growth given its loan-to-deposit ratio of 68 percent. Also cited was Metrobank’s improving return-on-equity profile, which it estimated to grow from 10 percent to 13 percent in the next four years.
For Security Bank, Macquarie said the bank was transforming itself into a more traditional bank, with management now more committed to growing its lending business. Despite strong competition and depressing margins, the bank is seen maintaining net interest margins to at least 3.8 percent, driven by low-cost deposits.
Meanwhile, the report said RCBC was “the most undervalued, under-owned bank with stable margins and earnings outlook.” It said the bank was ready to compete after beefing up capital and maintaining a strong balance sheet that allowed its expansion.
3:26 am | Monday, January 14th, 2013 On the reported “compromise” that’s shaping up between two proponents of separate connector roads linking the North and South Luzon expressways, the government seems to be getting impatient waiting for rivals San Miguel/Citra and Metro Pacific groups to resolve their differences on the P7-billion, five-kilometer common alignment on their own. After all, the government wants the project to get going in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit to be hosted by the Philippines in 2015.
What compromise is likely? As part of the middle ground, both parties have so far agreed to adopt an “open system” for toll plazas instead of the more complicated inter-operability similar to the flat rate system now used in NLEx. This means that San Miguel and Metro Pacific will both put up their own toll plazas (and take forever in reconciling and linking their systems). The agreement is to let the motorist pay a flat rate for the common segment in whichever toll plaza he chooses to exit plus the balance for the distance of travel.
But what remains a sticky issue is how soon Metro Pacific will contribute to the common segment. Our sources say that Metro Pacific wants to contribute to the cost upfront while San Miguel/Citra wants Metro Pacific’s participation back-ended specially since the former’s connector road is still expected to undergo a Swiss challenge and is therefore expected to start at a later date than San Miguel/Citra’s project (whose concession naturally ends at Buendia and therefore can begin expeditiously from that end moving to the north).
The San Miguel group’s proposal is for it to undertake the construction of the common segment and let Metro Pacific pay for its 50-percent share once the latter’s alignment is completed, say in three years. As a sweetener, our sources say San Miguel has offered a settling of the differential if the vehicular traffic assumptions are not met by the time the tollroads are operational. For instance, if Metro Pacific gets only 30 percent of traffic flow, then 20 percent of the cost of the common segment will be given to them and vice versa.
The ball is now in Malacañang’s court on how to find the best middle ground.—Doris C. Dumlao
The Securities and Exchange Commission is working with the Asian Development Bank to come up with a new framework for the registration of Islamic bonds, or those that conform with the Sharia law (which, as we all know, prohibits the charging of interest). SEC officials see the introduction of Islamic bonds to the local market as timely especially with the Bangsamoro peace accord, which is seen boosting more interest to do business in Mindanao.—Doris C. Dumlao
PLDT vs SMIC
They looked like they took it in stride, but we hear that the brass at PLDT were not too happy about losing the title of “largest Philippine company” to SM Investments Corp.
With that came the unofficial title of stock market “bellwether,” which refers to a listed company that best represents the Philippine economy. For a few days, that went to SMIC after its shares surged along with local prices, as PLDT’s stayed put (due in part to lingering questions about foreign ownership limits being deliberated by regulators).
By Tuesday of last week, PLDT group officials rejoiced when the telco overtook SMIC’s market capitalization by a hair’s breadth. But their joy was short-lived as the Henry Sy-owned firm surged ahead the very next day.
Thankfully for PLDT, the Securities and Exchange Commission hinted last Friday that it would opt for a more liberal interpretation of the constitutional limit on foreign ownership of shares. This caused an almost 2-percent increase in PLDT’s share price to P2,688, raising its market cap to P580.76 billion… slightly higher than SMIC’s P573.14 billion.
So PLDT is back on top. For now.—Daxim L. Lucas
Love your own
In a recent restaurant industry “secret” awards, not a few chefs and industry insiders were left with their mouths agape upon the announcement of the winner of one particular category. For the second time since the awards were established, a tired, old restaurant in Greenbelt became the recipient of the “best Japanese restaurant” award.
What has kept tongues wagging among our sources is that this restaurant is owned by the family of the main proponent of the restaurant industry awards. A case of incest, perhaps? Or a lack of delicadeza (a trait that should actually be familiar to the restaurant owner in question being of the Spanish persuasion). It’s a bit like Robert Redford receiving an award for his own film entry in the Sundance Film Festival, except that the brilliant actor and director wouldn’t even dare participate in that competition that he established.
Adding to the incredulity of the award category, fans of Japanese cuisine note that in terms of the freshness in sashimi alone, the category winner is definitely no match for its well-known neighbor along Pasay Road, which continues to attract a large number of patrons despite its pricier menu. (We wonder though why this particular restaurant wasn’t included among the nominees this year.) Anyway, it just shows that diners with sophisticated palates know real food quality when they taste it. Awards can’t swing good taste.
As for the rest of the awards, there must be something to be said about the tight-knit group that runs and participates in the awards. Gourmands note that a number of the category winners were definite head scratchers.–Daxim L. Lucas
McDreamy loves Tully’s
So actor Patrick Dempsey—nicknamed “McDreamy” in the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”—trumped the likes of Starbucks Corp. for the Seattle franchise Tully’s Coffee at a bankruptcy auction. Recently, he tweeted “We got it! Thank you Seattle!” and later commented in media reports about wanting to save the company and the jobs it has created.
Of course, there’s nothing preventing customers from thinking “McDreamy loves Tully’s.” Yet local officials say there is no direct impact since the Tully’s Coffee franchise in the Philippines operates under a separate company and has its own roll-out plan.
The Big Chill Inc. (TBC), a subsidiary of farm-to-plate agribusiness firm AgriNurture Inc., opened an outlet in Araneta Center last December and said it would be opening outlets in Magnolia, Binondo and Subic soon. The flagship store is in Bonifacio Global City.
“Generally, expansion plans of Big Chill in the Philippines will not be affected,” TBC president and CEO Dan Francisco said in a text message. “Though we won’t mind working with Patrick Dempsey one day.”—Riza T. Olchondra
The filing of criminal complaints last week against ranking officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Anti-Money Laundering Council again illustrates the risks that public officials face. It’s not that all those in government are scrupulous. It’s just that complaints against public officials are not that common and many are intended to harass the accused.
Businessman Roberto Ongpin has haled BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. to court for allegedly violating the Antigraft Law. In a complaint filed at the Office of the Ombudsman, Ferdinand Marcos’ trade minister assailed Espenilla for signing the AMLC resolution in September 2012 that sought a freeze order on his bank accounts. The Court of Appeals’ freeze in December of some 100 bank accounts linked to Ongpin caused the value of the shares in his companies to plunge. His lawyer claimed that nearly P9 billion in the market value of his shareholdings in Philweb Corp., Alphaland Corp., Atok-Big Wedge Co. Inc. and Philippine Bank of Communications had been wiped out. The complaint alleged that the freeze order damaged Ongpin’s reputation and ruined a potential $1-billion investment deal.
Ongpin, ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 9th richest Filipino, said Espenilla “acted recklessly and in clear bad faith” when he signed the AMLC resolution. Ongpin’s basis was what he termed Espenilla’s “contradictory” position—the BSP official allegedly cleared the businessman’s transactions with the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines during the Senate hearings in 2011. “He acknowledged under oath during a Senate probe that from the point of view of the BSP as the regulator of banks, the sale by DBP of its 50 million Philex shares to a company beneficially owned and controlled by Ongpin was a ‘prudent’ and ‘positive’ transaction that resulted in ‘trading gains’ for the bank,” Ongpin said. Yet last November, Espenilla signed the AMLC petition for a freeze on Ongpin’s accounts. This was in connection with inquiries into P660 million in alleged behest-loan deals between Ongpin and DBP officials in 2009, when the businessman was reportedly in the good graces of the Arroyo administration.
The BSP has expressed concern that Ongpin was “singling out” Espenilla; the AMLC resolution was also approved by the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Insurance Commission who sit as members of the AMLC board. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. chairs the AMLC, but because he was abroad on official business when Ongpin’s issue was tackled, the freeze order was authorized by Espenilla, the BSP chief’s alternate.
The central bank has also pointed out that the AMLC freeze order was issued after the Court of Appeals found probable cause to act against Ongpin.
The case began as a “word war” between Ongpin and the BSP, after the businessman resigned as director of PBCom when the central bank “deferred” his confirmation. The deferment, in turn, was due to legal questions on Ongpin’s purchase of Philex shares using loan proceeds from DBP. Ongpin has subsequently sold his stake in
PBCom, citing the need to make a “financial sacrifice” and spare the bank from any backlash that could arise from his legal battle with “a ranking central bank official.”
Ongpin has wisely steered clear of waging war with the BSP itself, emphasizing that he had “no rancor whatsoever” against it as an institution. The BSP had earlier described Ongpin’s allegations of partiality as “unwarranted and patently unfair,” saying that the central bank “has the responsibility to ensure that careful evaluation of critical elements is made before final decisions are promulgated.”
The BSP has long pushed for an amendment to its charter to exempt its officials from legal actions while in the course of performing their functions. This followed the numerous court cases filed against BSP executives by owners and officers of shuttered banks or financial institutions in trouble.
The central bank has noted that some of its officials were wasting much time attending court hearings, even in the provinces where some of the cases were filed. Worse, it said, its hands were often tied by restraining orders issued by various courts, prohibiting it from taking action against erring banks and their owners and officers. Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at the BSP’s plea for immunity from suit.
Funds raised through the sale of corporate bonds in the domestic market surged by 34 percent in the first 10 months last year to P237.4 billion from P176.7 billion in the same period in 2011, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.
Monetary officials said the increase in the bonds sold by corporations could indicate an increase in the issuers’ business activities.
“Corporations continued to tap the capital markets for financing,” the BSP said in a report.
According to officials, the Philippines currently enjoys a virtuous cycle, under which the country’s improving economic climate drives positive sentiment among portfolio fund owners while higher investments in peso-denominated securities help firms fund more activities that support a faster economic growth.
According to the BSP, the growth in corporate bond issuances came with the rise in sale of equities. This is a welcome development, according to the central bank, which said funds are becoming easier to access.
Citing data from the Philippine Stock Exchange, the BSP said funds raised from sale of publicly listed stocks had hit P192.9 billion in January to October last year, more than double the amount posted in the same period in 2011.
Officials said the sale of more corporate bonds and equities in the country indicated that companies were no longer relying solely on banks for their funding requirements.
They noted, however, that banks continued to service the funding needs of corporate clients. The double-digit rise in loan portfolio of banks in the country reflected the growing resources of banks and their appetite for lending.
Latest lending data from the BSP showed that loans extended by universal and commercial banks hit P3.08 trillion as of the end of October, up by 15.8 percent from P2.79 trillion as of the same period in the previous year.
Officials said credit growth and successful fund-raising activities had helped the Philippine economy post a growth of 6.5 percent in the first three quarters despite weakness of the global economy.
Rising credit and enormous liquidity in the domestic capital market have elicited speculations that the Philippines may be facing risks of overheating within a few years, unless monetary officials do something to temper the trend.
(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 15, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The main stock index moved closer to uncharted territory as investors cheered positive prospects of economic and corporate income growth in the country.
The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index or PSEi climbed 0.7 percent or 42.15 points to close at 6,093.90, marking the seventh time the bellwether index reached an all-time high this year.
The broader All Shares index also gained 0.53 percent or 20.09 points to end at 3,837.14.
“We expected barometers to move higher driven by expectations of improved earnings growth for 2013,” Grace Cerdenia, analyst at brokerage firm 2Trade-Asia.com, said in a phone interview.
“Bulk of the gains were driven by property and financial firms that are sensitive to inflation and interest rates,” she said, adding that interest and inflation rates are likely to remain low.
All sub-indices were in the green, led by financial companies that advanced 1.53 percent or 24.06 points to 1,599.10 while property companies rebounded from a slump last Friday, adding 1.48 percent or 34.81 points to close at 2,381.35 yesterday.
Market breadth was positive as advancers outpaced decliners, 94 to 71, while 44 stocks did not change. Value of shares traded slightly eased to P9.28 billion from P9.43 billion on Friday.
Cerdenia said the main index might pierce the 6,100 mark “barring any unforeseen negative events abroad like disappointing industrial numbers in United Kingdom and US.”
(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 15, 2013 - 12:00am
Filipino businessmen have a lot to look forward to this lucky Year of the Snake 2013. With the way the stock exchange has been performing, it would seem optimism is the order of the year. For the first time in 86 years, trading breached the 6,000-point mark several times last week, with the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) posting 6,091.18 on Jan. 9. The continued strong performance of the local bourse just goes to show that the country is off to a good start, with analysts forecasting GDP growth rates by as much as seven percent.
The continued appreciation of the peso, however, is causing a lot of OFW families to complain about the lowered value of dollar remittances – affecting their spending capacity. The Bangko Sentral has said it will buy more dollars to curb the rising peso, since this also affects the export and business process outsourcing industries.
In any case, more business activities are foreseen in several sectors touted as strong performers this year, namely business process outsourcing (expected to contribute over 500,000 jobs), tourism, construction, banking and real estate. Economic experts also point to the Aquino government’s increased public spending as one of the reasons for the country’s robust economic performance, with a big part of the P1.5 trillion in 2012 going to public infrastructure.
Dinner blowout compliments of P-Noy
Spy Bits sources disclosed that President Noy Aquino treated Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) directors, a few businessmen and some friends at the Savoy Bistro along Kalayaan Avenue in Makati last night, apparently to celebrate the strong showing of the economy in 2012 – and the continued impressive performance of the local stock exchange since trading opened this year.
Savoy Bistro is said to be one of the President’s favorites, with the French/European cuisine resto also doubling as an art gallery, with paintings, antiques and interesting furniture – all for sale – strategically dotting the interiors. We’re told the place offers royalty-inspired European cuisine, with the appetizers that include foie gras, escargot, and cheese fondue among the more popular with frequent diners.