Market sentiment weakened before U.S. downgrade-S&P

SINGAPORE – The top official behind Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the United States said on Friday it was not to blame for August’s stock market rout, and warned that developed nations still needed to “get their act together” to tackle their mountains of debt.

S&P cut the United States’ prized triple-AAA rating one notch to AA+ on Aug. 5, exacerbating a rout in global stock markets that had already been hit by Europe’s growing sovereign debt crisis and fears of a renewed U.S. recession.

“From our perspective, it’s an oversimplification to say this was happening because of S&P’s downgrade,” said David Beers, S&P’s global head of sovereign ratings, referring to criticism that the move caused volatility in the market.

Government narrows budget deficit by 81% – Purisima

 

MANILA – Government narrowed its budget deficit by four-fifths in the first seven months of 2011 on the back of stronger revenue collection and judicious spending, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said Thursday.

For the first seven months, the government posted a budget deficit of P43.713 billion – 80.95 percent narrower than last year’s P229.423 billion, Purisima said. He said the deficit was also 77.1 percent narrower than the P191.2-billion programmed for the period.

Explaining the strength of the government’s fiscal position, Purisima said its revenues grew by 13.47 percent, to P788.603 billion from P695.012 billion in the same comparable period.

Disbursements, on the other hand, decreased by a tenth, to P832.316 billion from P924.435 billion.

CEB now offers largest seat capacity in the Phl

THE Philippines’ largest flag carrier, Cebu Pacific (PSE:CEB) is the largest airline in terms of seat capacity operating to, from and within the Philippines, according to a Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) article released last August 21, 2011.

CAPA named the top 10 carriers in the Philippines by capacity, or seats per week based on August 22-28, 2011 CAPA and Innovata data.

CEB offers 258,120 seats, with its fleet of 100% brand-new 8 ATR 72-500, 10 Airbus A319 and 15 Airbus A320 aircraft.

Meanwhile, CAPA reported the following seat capacity offered by other airlines: Philippine Airlines (220,302), Airphil Express (103,102), Zest Air (77,232), Cathay Pacific Airways (29,170), Asiana Airlines (17,624), Korean Air Lines (12,996), Singapore Airlines (12,600), SEAir (11,436), and Delta Air Lines (10,478).

Jobseekers brave rains for job fair

By: Lilibeth A. French

THE early morning rains did not dampen the determination of many jobseekers in this city and nearby towns to take advantage of the opportunity to find work either here at home or abroad at the city charter day job fair held here today, August 25.

Rodolfo Garcesto, 26, had to wake up early and brave the rains to travel from the town of Guimbal which is about 29 kilometers away from this city to accompany his girl friend to find a job through Project JED (Jobs, Employment, Development), a one-day job fair sponsored by the Iloilo City government as part of its 74th Charter Day celebration.

PHL imports pick up in June while factory output slumps – NSO

MANILA – Philippine imports picked up while local factory output slumped in June the National Statistics Office reported on Thursday.

In its latest report, the NSO said the Philippines paid $4.50 billion in imports in June, or a 6.6-percent improvement from $4.23 billion in June last year.

However, June imports declined by 7.9 percent from $4.89 billion recorded in May 2011. Total trade, which includes exports, meanwhile declined.

“Total trade for June 2011 was registered at $8.63 billion, lower by 1.7 percent from $8.78 billion in June 2010. Thus, the balance of trade in goods registered a deficit at $376 million compared to last year’s surplus of $332 million,” the NSO said.

Government narrows budget deficit by 81% – Purisima

MANILA – Government narrowed its budget deficit by four-fifths in the first seven months of 2011 on the back of stronger revenue collection and judicious spending, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said Thursday.

For the first seven months, the government posted a budget deficit of P43.713 billion – 80.95 percent narrower than last year’s P229.423 billion, Purisima said. He said the deficit was also 77.1 percent narrower than the P191.2-billion programmed for the period.

Explaining the strength of the government’s fiscal position, Purisima said its revenues grew by 13.47 percent, to P788.603 billion from P695.012 billion in the same comparable period.

Disbursements, on the other hand, decreased by a tenth, to P832.316 billion from P924.435 billion.

G-W@PS cuts loan processing time

THE use of Government Service Insurance System Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS) kiosks has cut the loan processing time of its members.

The precious time they saved also results to their increased productivity.

Members also said the G-W@PS has made their individual records accessible 24/7.

Roniel Tanguan, audio-visual equipment operator, and Alaine Noelle Borja, assistant information officer, both of the Provincial Information Office, shared they only had to wait for two days for their Consolidate Loans to be released which they applied for this month.

“And the good thing was, I didn’t have to leave the office and set aside my work just to go to the GSIS office to process this loan,” Borja said.

PSALM seeks fresh rate hike

As if the current petitions are not enough to hurt the pockets of consumers, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has filed another petition seeking to raise power rates by P0.1059 per kilowatt-hour in Luzon and P0.1157 in Visayas.

In a petition filed at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Wednesday, PSALM sought a “true up adjustment” for Luzon of P0.1059/kwh, P0.1157/kwh for Visayas and a reduction of P0.0258/kwh for Mindanao.

This is on top of the stranded contract cost and stranded debts petitions amounting to an increase of P0.39/kwh. It also has a pending petition for generation and foreign currency adjustment which translates to a hike amounting to P4.99/kwh for Luzon, P4.04/kwh for Visayas and P0.79/kwh for Mindanao.

Another petition from PSALM is an adjustment of the National Power Corp.’s base rate where it asked for a P4.72/kwh for Luzon, P4.26/kwh for Visayas and P3.17 for Mindanao. The ERC has given them a provisional authority to increase but the full amount sought in the petition has not yet been approved.

Growing energy demand adds stress to water supply

SINGAPORE – A Google search for “world water shortage” will produce more than four million results in 0.17 seconds. It will also use a tenth of a teaspoon of water, experts say.

Given water’s role in power generation, the impact of about 300 million Google searches a day is around 150,000 liters (40,000 gallons) daily — in a world where water supplies are increasingly a major concern.

“These two things — water and energy — come together and that’s a big thing for the world to understand,” says Len Rodman, a US-based water and energy expert.

“If you squander water, if you indiscriminately use power, then in the long run that will have implications for the world,” the chief executive of Black & Veatch, a major global water and energy company told AFP in an interview.

Water is used not only to generate power through dams and steam but also as a coolant for nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants, which are competing with agriculture, industry and urban consumption for water supplies.

BSP forecast: August inflation at 3.9%-4.8%

LOWER prices of world crude oil and local fuels will cushion the increases in the cost of rice, vegetables and electricity on inflation this month, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a text message to reporters Wednesday the inflation forecast for August ranges from 3.9 percent to 4.8 percent.

Inflation last July was at 4.6 percent was recorded at 4.3 percent in the first seven months of the year.

Tetangco also assured that the BSP is keeping close tabs on the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and the economic health of the United States and Europe.

“These impact on global aggregate demand and international prices of oil,” he said.

China open to joint mineral exploration in Spratlys

DESPITE the brewing geopolitical tensions over the disputed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), China is open to having joint mineral exploration projects in the area with the Philippines.

“The Chinese government is willing to negotiate with the Philippines and other claimant countries for joint exploration activities in the Spratlys,” said Chinese Ambassador to Manila Liu Jianchao during a press briefing Wednesday at his residence in Makati City.

“We have to reach consensus. We need to have further dialogue and consultations on how to go about it,” said Liu.

Two major groups of islands — namely Spratlys and Paracels — are being claimed in whole by China while some parts are being claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

“We do hope that this [joint activities] will materialize as soon as possible,” he said. “We believe this is the best way for claimant countries to have an opportunity for cooperation.”

US financial problems also an ‘opportunity’-PSE investor

FROM an initial investment of P5,000, retail stock investor Catherine Estacio has earned at least P150,000 since she started investing in the stock market in 2007.

She thus remains positive amid the United States’ financial problems, Estacio said in an interview with GMA News TV’s “News to Go” newscast Wednesday.

“Ang nakikita ko sa market ngayon, it’s a huge buying opportunity,” Estacio said. “As long as mababa ‘yung market, it’s time to buy.”

“News to Go” explains the process of buying and selling shares of stock in the following video.

Retail stock investors are those who buy minimum lots of shares of stocks at relatively lower prices compared to institutional investors that trade by the volume, according to “News to Go.”