Jan 162014

MANILA, Philippines – The net inflow of foreign portfolio investments, also known as hot money, surged eight percent in 2013, exceeding the central bank’s projection on the back of the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data showed net hot money inflow went up to $4.225 billion last year from $3.911 billion in 2012. It was also way above the revised $3.2 billion assumption of the central bank for 2013.

Foreign portfolio investments are also called hot money given the ease with which the funds enter and exit economies.

The BSP attributed the increase in hot money inflow to the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals; sustained high growth in the first three quarters; (and) the investment grade ratings given to the Philippines.

The central bank also said crisis in developing countries such as the United States and those in the euro zone also caused funds to be diverted to emerging economies such as the Philippines.

Gross inflows jumped 54 percent to $28.404 billion in 2013 from $18.483 billion in 2012, while gross outflows climbed 66 percent to $24.180 billion from $14.571 billion.

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Last year’s gross inflows were the highest recorded since 1999, surpassing the previous record high of $18.5 billion in 2012.

“There was a steady stream of investment inflows of more than $2 billion a month except in the ghost month of August, believed to be unlucky for business, and in December due to the announcement of the forthcoming tapering of the United States quantitative easing program,” the BSP said.

The bulk or 74.7 percent of hot money inflows went to Philippine Stock Exchange-listed securities, while another 23 percent went to peso-denominated government securities.

The top investor countries last year were the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Luxembourg, and Hong Kong.

Oct 032013
OFWs, not gov't, lifted Phl to investment grade

Overseas Filipinos hauling “balikbayan” boxes gather in an airport preparing to fly back to the Philippines. Jeff Youngstrom MANILA, Philippines – A Hong Kong-based finance publication attributed the latest investment grade rating from Moody’s Investor’s Service to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) remittances more than to government. Finance Asia business editor Nick Ferguson said in a report Thursday that while Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima gives credit to “sound fiscal and monetary policy” under President Benigno Aquino III, it is the 15 million OFWs who contributed to the upgrade. OFWs remitted $12.627 billion so far in 2013–a 5.8 percent leap from the same period in 2012. Related: OFW remittances up 6.6% in July “This windfall means that remittances are more than enough to service the government’s $125 billion national debt, given ultra-low interest rates, which has allowed the government to avoid addressing much-needed tax reform,” Ferguson writes. Bulk of the remittances were from Filipinos working in the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada and Japan. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 On Thursday, Moody’s gave the country a Baa3 credit rating, citing that the country’s robust economic performance warranted the upgrade. Related: Moody’s gives Phl 3rd major investment grade rating The firm also said the sovereign rating was due to “improved fiscal management” leading to increases in infrastructure and social spending. It also suggested that the Philippines improves in revenue generation at par with other investment-grade countries.

Sep 042013
Globe launches new service in Canada

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. further expanded its presence overseas by offering telecommunication services in Canada to cater to almost one million Filipino permanent resident and transients. Rizza Maniego-Eala, head for International Business Group of Globe, said the company has extended the reach of its international inbound calling offer DUO International to over 900,000 Filipinos living and working in Canada.  “Almost 90 percent of Filipinos in Canada are permanent migrants who are unable to visit family and friends back home as frequent as those in other countries, and we are proud to be able to give them an innovative and affordable way to keep in touch with loved ones in the Philippines for less than CAD$1 a day,” Maniego-Eala stressed. Canada is one of the top countries worldwide that houses the most number of overseas Filipinos making it a viable market for the telco’s roster of international services. DUO International is also offered in the US, Korea, and the United Kingdom. DUO Canada is a subscription service that assigns a virtual Canadian landline number to a registered Globe number in the Philippines. This allows Filipinos in Canada to call their loved ones in the country through their virtual Canadian landline number. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Calls to the virtual Canadian landline number assigned to the Globe subscriber would be charged at domestic Canadian call rates, effectively lowering call costs. “This allows Filipinos in Canada to contact loved ones at a much affordable rate Read More …

Jun 062013
Senate fails to ratify 3 extradition treaties

The Senate adjourned on Thursday night without ratifying extradition treaties between the Philippines and three countries. Even with foreign diplomats in the Senate gallery, the chamber failed to muster the 16 votes it needed to ratify extradition treaties with Spain, India and the United Kingdom. When the roll call was called at past 4 p.m., only 14 senators were present on the Senate floor. The Senate instead approved local bills, such as the measure upgrading the Cotabato City District Engineering Office, the bill creating a new barangay in Occidental Mindoro, and proposed legislations allowing the construction of fish ports. — Andreo Calonzo/BM, GMA News

Apr 152013
BSP: Remittances grew by 6% in February

MANILA, Philippines – Money sent home by Filipinos abroad grew by 6 percent in February to $1.682 billion from $1.587 billion a year ago, the central bank reported on Monday. The amount represented cash coursed through banks. It brought the two-month tally to $3.363 billion, an improvement of seven percent from last year. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) projects a 5-percent expansion in cash remittances for 2013. A separate gauge called personal remittances- which included hand-carry transfers– rose by a faster 6.9 percent last month and 7.6 percent for the first two months of the year. “The steady deployment of overseas Filipino workers remained a primary contributory factor to the growth in remittances flows,” BSP said in a statement. More than three-fourths of cash remittances were sent by land-based workers, while about a quarter were sent by seafarers, figures showed. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The United States remained the top source of remittances, accounting for 41.5 percent of the total. It was followed by Canada (9.8 percent), Saudi Arabia (7.9 percent), the United Kingdom (5.3 percent), the United Arab Emirates (4.5 percent), Singapore (4.1 percent) and Japan (3.5 percent). The BSP said remittances are poised to increase further in the coming months as indicated by the Department of Labor and Employment. “[O]pportunities for migrant workers through infrastructure projects in Hong Kong and increased minimum wage for monthly paid workers in Taiwan, could support further the sustained inflows of remittances to the country in the Read More …