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News Update – April 4, 2019




US dollar                                                                                             52.1600

Hong Kong dollar                                                                                6.6447


Huge NFA debt due to rice price, supply stabilization mandate, officials claim

The National Food Authority’s (NFA) P140-billion debt was caused by unsustainable policies of the government and not due to the agency’s inefficiency, its officials said in a statement. The statement was issued in reaction to claims of the country’s economic managers that NFA was “a losing agency due to inefficiency and incompetence of its management, which prompted lawmakers to limit its functions under the Rice Import Liberalization Law.



PH stocks pull back to 7,700

The local stock barometer slipped to the 7,700 level on Friday as fresh jitters over global growth dampened investors’ risk appetite. The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 84.68 points or 1.07 percent to close at 7,797.11, tracking the bloodbath across regional and global markets.


Power unit boosts AEV profit to P22.2B

Conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) posted a consolidated net income of P22.2 billion last year, up 3 percent from previous year, as higher earnings from the power business made up for the slack in the banking, food and real estate businesses. Nonrecurring losses hit P891 million, lower than the previous year’s P2.3 billion, consisting of net unrealized foreign exchange losses and asset impairment costs. Without these, core net income in 2018 hit P23.1 billion, 3 percent lower than the previous year.


New BSP chief softens stance on monetary easing

The Philippines’ new central bank chief—on his second day on the job on Friday—said he preferred to wait for fresh data to confirm that the inflation rate was indeed on a downtrend before pushing for a reduction in interest rates or bank reserve requirements. In his first press briefing as the country’s top financial regulator, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno softened his aggressive pro-monetary easing rhetoric aired earlier in the week immediately following Malacañang’s announcement of his appointment.


Treasury reports strong demand for 5-year RTBs

The government sold P235.935 billion in five-year retail treasury bonds (RTBs) given strong demand from small investors and its availability online. National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon yesterday said the Bureau of the Treasury and its selling agents received “huge offers” during the offer period of Feb. 26 to March 8.


PH among ‘most dangerous’ places for women

The Philippines was among the three “most dangerous” places for women among 14 Asia-Pacific countries covered by a report of research firm ValueChampion that measured women’s safety, healthcare and access to education and employment opportunities. In a March 5 report, ValueChampion, a site that recommends bank, credit card and insurance products in India, Singapore and South Korea, gave the Philippines an overall rank of 12th as the country placed 12th in safety, 12th in healthcare (quality of life and crime) and sixth in opportunity.


Dutch firm eyes Hanjin

Dutch company Damen Shipyard is looking into the prospects of investing in the financially troubled Hanjin facility in Subic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Friday. Damen’s technical team has already surveyed the facility and is now reviewing how it will fit in their current plans, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said in a statement.



Sudan terminal deal with Philippines’ ICTSI under review–Bashir

KHARTOUM, Sudan–Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Friday said that a deal to transfer the container terminal at Port Sudan to a Philippines company is under review after workers held a strike against the contract. Hundreds of workers at Port Sudan, a vital economic hub of the east African country, went on strike for days last month to oppose Khartoum’s decision to transfer control of the terminal to Filipino business tycoon Enrique Razon Jr.’s International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI).


SBMA investments hit record-breaking P29.6-B in 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) registered a seven-year high investment figure in 2018, as more investors expanded operations or set up their businesses in Subic amid strong confidence. SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said Wednesday the agency’s committed investments reached PHP29.6 billion last year, up by a whopping 1,066 percent from PHP2.5 billion in 2017. Eisma said the SBMA also posted record-breaking outputs in the 26-year history of the agency, with revenue at PHP3.45 billion and net income at PHP1.45 billion, the first time it breached the PHP1-billion mark.


Bay Area shaping up to become metro’s next premier gateway

It has been dubbed as the next big thing in real estate, touted to be a highly premium location where the newest central business district is poised to rise, offering potential investment opportunities for locators. The Bay Area, which straddles across portions of Manila, Parañaque and Pasay, is now deemed an emerging district that are luring developers into putting up residential, commercial, entertainment and office complexes within the area, with a strong demand driven primarily by Chinese gaming firms as well as local and foreign investors.


PH oil import bill jumps 32%

Domestic demand for petroleum products inched up by 1.4 percent in volume in 2018, but the import bill jumped 32 percent in value amid efforts by crude oil exporters to limit output and raise prices. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), demand in the Philippines for petroleum products reached 168.8 million barrels last year from 166.5 million barrels in the previous year.


PLDT moves to address spying concerns

PLDT Inc. is working with China’s Huawei to address spying concerns raised by the United States government, PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said. Huawei, the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment supplier, was earlier tapped by local telcos PLDT and Globe Telecom as a key network partner in the rollout of their 5G infrastructure, the next-generation mobile standard.


Isolated rain showers over most parts of PH Saturday

MANILA -- Most parts of the country will experience isolated rain showers, the weather bureau said Saturday. Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms will prevail over the Bicol region, Eastern Visayas, and Mindanao due to the easterlies affecting southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. Batanes and the Babuyan Group of Islands will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains caused by the northeast monsoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) added.