business

Remittances, improved external demand to buoy recovery

April 7, 2021

GROWTH of money being sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and improvement of external demand are expected to boost the domestic economy’s recovery this year.       However, Fitch Solutions Country Risks and Industry Research reduced its growth projection for the country this year from 7.6 percent to 5.8 percent on the expected hit from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).       The ECQ status in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal set from March 29 until April 4 was extended for another week to April 11 amid surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.       Fitch Solutions said another unfavorable factor in the economy’s recovery is the slow vaccination rollout.       In a report released Monday, the unit of Fitch Group cited signs of gradual economic activity such as the above 50 level of the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which was unchanged at 52.5 last February against the previous month “indicating a gradual improvement in activity.”       As of last March, the PMI index stood at 52.2 based on the report of the IHS Markit.       An index of above 50 indicates expansion while a figure of below 50 shows otherwise.       “Indeed, respondents noted supportive demand dynamics and increased inventory building on a more positive outlook,” Fitch Solutions said.       The report also said external demand has been improving, partially due to the Covid-19 vaccination program in other countries.       Similarly, OFWs remittances continue to remain resilient, it added.       The report said while the January 2021 inflows declined by 1.7 percent year-on-year, it is 1.8 percent higher than the January 2019 pre-pandemic level.      “We believe that overall remittance flows will begin to gradually rebound as growth picks up globally, particularly on the back of a recovery in the US and the Middle East on the back of rising oil prices, which together accounted for 57.4 percent of remittances in 2019,” it said.       It added while lockdowns in Europe and tightening credit growth in China threaten the broader recovery in global demand as vaccination rollouts progress, “we expect growth to prove strong, boosting the outlook for exports which we forecast to grow 9.5 percent, following a 16.7 percent contraction in 2020.”      “As such, the external backdrop should continue to provide support to the economy in 2021,” it said.       However, the report said implementation of the two-week ECQ will slightly dampen growth prospects given the expected slide in domestic consumption and investment, factors that the domestic economy are highly vulnerable to.  (PNA)

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PH external debt ratios lower on prudent policy

April 7, 2021

THE Philippine government’s improved debt guidelines have resulted in the drop of the country’s external debt ratios compared to around two decades ago, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.      In an economic bulletin, the DOF said the proportion of the country’s foreign debt to gross national income (GNI) rose to 25.2 percent as of end-2020 compared to 20.2 percent in the previous year due to higher government liabilities.      However, last year’s figure was significantly lower at 30.9 percentage points than the 56.1 percent in 2000, or when the country was recovering from the impact of the Asian financial crisis.      Amidst the year-on-year uptick, the DOF said the country’s latest external debt ratio is better than the 28.95 percent average among six Asian countries in 2019 based on World Bank (WB) data.      WB data show that 2019 external debt as a percentage of GNI of China is 14.77 percent; Indonesia, 19.74 percent; Philippines, 20.19 percent; Thailand, 34.42 percent; India, 37.03 percent; and Vietnam, 47.56 percent.      The DOF said the Philippines’ prudent debt policy has enabled the country to strengthen its defenses against external shocks like the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.      “This is one of the reasons for the strong confidence of investors in the Philippine economy. Nevertheless, we must continue to prudently manage our fiscal situation and continue to observe fiscal responsibility,” it added. (PNA)

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Gardening with CitiHardware

April 5, 2021

Flowers and plants increase the level of positive energy, help people feel secure and relaxed. It brings beauty in every space, whether big or small, inside or outside our home. Beyond aesthetic value and ambiance, plants are considered a vital resource.       The global pandemic changed our lives and our way of living. Planting and gardening became one of the gateways to overcome the difficulties of the crisis experienced. Having plants help reduce stress and anxiety. Growing vegetables and crops supplied fresh and healthy foods.      With the drastic change in our daily activities that led people to engage in planting, CitiHardware offers a wide array of products that will suit your gardening needs. Here are some gardening products that are available at CitiHardware 1) Propagation pots, flower pots, and decorative pots with different sizes and colors. 2) Paper seedling trays are also available that are 100% eco-friendly, breathable and biodegradable. These are great for planting flowers and vegetable seeds. 3.) Potting mix, fertilizers and seeds can also be found at CitiHardware. These are helpful in growing your own plants and crops.      CitiHardware also offers hand gardening tools. 1) Garden forks that are used for loosening the soil. 2) Garden trowel and trans -planter are primarily used for digging, transplanting, and weeding. 3) Bypass pruner, trimmer, pruning saw and pruning shears are also available that are used to remove unwanted branches.      CitiHardware also has small garden equipment. These are brush cutters and leaf blowers that are best for pre-gardening activities. You will also find sprayers and garden hoses made from durable materials suitable for light, medium, and heavy-duty uses.      For your gardening and home improvement needs, come and visit any CitiHardware store near you!       You may also shop at the comfort of your home thru Shop & Go hotlines, CitiHardware at Lazada www.Lazada.com.ph/shop/citihardware- inc., and www.shop.citihardware.com. For more information, check our CitiHardware website www.citihardware.com.      Shop safely and conveniently at CitiHardware and enjoy great value every day!

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Century Pacific nets P3.9-B in 2020; enters refrigerated food

April 5, 2021

CENTURY Pacific Food, Inc. (CNPF), one of the country’s leading branded food companies, booked a 24-percent increase in net income to PHP3.9 billion last year even amid the pandemic.      Its consolidated revenues also grew by 19 percent to PHP48.3 billion in 2020, driven primarily by the outperformance of the Branded business with sales rising by 25 percent versus the same period last year.      “We saw robust demand for our branded products all throughout 2020 –beginning with a strong pre-Covid-19 performance, followed by pandemic-related demand spikes, then sustained growth to wrap up the year due largely to the essentials and staples nature of our portfolio,” CNPF executive chairman Christopher Po said in a statement Wednesday.        The Branded business -composed primarily of the Marine, Meat, and Milk business units– remains to be majority of the company’s overall sales representing 81 percent of total topline.      The balance of CNPF’s 19 percent of sales is accounted for by its commodity-linked original equipment manufacturer (OEM) export business, which saw topline decline 1 percent year-on-year as a result of softer commodity prices, reallocation of capacity to domestic requirements, and a stronger peso.       It, however, continued to contribute positively to the company’s net income and cash flows.      “Amidst the uncertainties of 2020, our strong position allowed us to focus primarily on the future --improving our digital capabilities, increasing capacities across our value chain, and building up a robust pipeline of innovative and new products. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we look forward to releasing these to market as we persist in our mission of providing affordable nutrition to the Filipino population,” Po said.       CNPF has previously disclosed a double-digit topline and bottomline growth target for this year despite a high 2020 base and continued uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic.       The growth target is due largely to resilient demand for the company’s core branded products, recovery in its OEM export business, and increased contribution from new products and emerging categories.      Starting April 1 this year, the emerging categories will include refrigerated food following the company’s acquisition of Pacific Meat Company, Inc. (PMCI) -an emerging player in the large refrigerated food category.       PMCI, a fellow subsidiary of CNPF’s parent company, comes equipped with its own manufacturing facilities, cold chain distribution, and a robust innovation pipeline of refrigerated better-for-you products.       It is expected to provide CNPF with growth opportunities in a major segment of the food market.      “We are looking at refrigerated food as another platform for growth and look forward to bringing in PMCI as it has now hit scale and built out a pipeline of new products that will supplement CNPF’s. It will provide capabilities in a completely different food segment which is growing and will have synergies with the shelf-stable part of our portfolio,” Po said. (PR)

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Coca-Cola PH to inoculate 10K employees, families

April 5, 2021

COCA-COLA Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI) has announced that it will give free vaccines against Covid-19 for its 10,000 employees and their immediate family members.      CCBPI president and chief executive officer Gareth McGeown said the firm’s initiative is in support of the government’s goal to rebuild the economy by giving Filipino workers protection against the coronavirus.      “Our People-First commitment means that we are responsible for our employees and their families especially during these most challenging times,” McGeown said in a statement Wednesday.      He added that the company provides health maintenance organization coverage for its employees and their family members in its 20 manufacturing plants and 70 distribution centers and sales office.      During the pandemic, CCBPI also strictly implements safety and sanitation standards to avoid the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace.      McGeown said the company has allocated P2 billion as assistance for its employees amid the global health and economic crisis.      “Our biggest achievement is that we did not have to let anyone go because of the pandemic,” he said. “Creating and championing a people-centric culture is not the job of one person alone. Every single person in the organization made this possible, a shared responsibility among the company’s 10,000 employees.” (PR)

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Targeted spending crucial to economic recovery

April 5, 2021

GOVERNMENTS, including those of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), need more targeted spending to boost the recovery of their economies from the pandemic.      Li Lian Ong, ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) group head and lead specialist, said the greater focus should be on “the segments that will drive and sustain growth going forward”, among others.      “They need to avoid artificially supporting firms that are no longer economically viable… an alternative is to provide support to workers while they upskill to meet demand in the other more in-demand sectors,” she said in a virtual briefing during the release of the Asean+3 Regional Economic Outlook (AREO) Wednesday.       In her presentation, Ong said economic recovery remains shrouded by uncertainties because of pandemic-related risks.      AMRO projects a 6.7-percent growth for ASEAN+3, which comprises 10-member bloc Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam plus China, Japan, and Korea, this year.      However, it forecasts a growth moderation to 4.9 percent in 2022.      For one, AMRO sees a  6.9-percent growth for the Philippine economy this year but it projects further growth acceleration to 7.9 percent next year.      Ong said pandemic-related risks are important to be looked into in the short-term because “we cannot really see the economic recovery until the virus is under control.”      “So what is going to be important now is targeted containment that is decisive, effective, and proactive,” she added.      During the same briefing, Marthe Memoracion Hinojales, AMRO economist and AREO lead author, forecasts global value chains (GVCs) to focus more “on resilience and not just efficiency,” which she said, “is a prime characteristic of GVCs until we were hit by back-to-back shocks.”      She projects the ASEAN+3 to be a prime destination of GVCs post-pandemic because of improvements in the infrastructure and labor sectors.      “It (Asean+3) is a good candidate for those seeking to diversify for resilience,” she added.      Along with the geographical part of this issue is the importance of technology and its overall stake in the value chain.      “Users have become comfortable with the technology that was accelerated by the pandemic,” she added. (PNA)

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