38,000 Pinoy millionaires by 2015

THE Philippines will have 38,000 millionaires by 2015, taking the total number of wealthy Asians to 2.82 million, a report from private banking group Julius Baer said on Wednesday.

The Swiss wealth manager placed the Philippines on the list of Asian countries with the largest number of high networth individuals (HNIs), or those with $1 million or more in investable assets by 2015.

China, which tops the list, would be home to nearly half of the millionaires in Asia with combined wealth of $8.8 trillion.

The world’s most populous nation had 502,000 million HNIs with investable assets totaling $2.6 trillion, the report said.

PNoy admin vows to make up for Q2 slack

Economic planners pledged to boost government spending in the coming months to pump prime the economy and make up for the slack in the first and second quarters.

The second quarter results were “…below NEDA’s forecast of 4.5-5.5 percent, as well as private analysts’ average projection of 4.9 percent, and some international organizations’ average outlook of 5.0 percent in the second quarter,” NEDA director-general Cayetano Paderanga said in a statement Wednesday.

The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), grew 3.4 percent in the second quarter from a revised 4.6 percent in the first quarter and 7.9 percent a year earlier, National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) data showed.

The second quarter GDP amounted to P2.4 trillion, according to NSCB data.

PHL share prices close flat

PHILIPPINE share prices closed flat on Thursday as investors weighed both the dismal local economic performance in the second quarter and the generally positive mood of markets abroad.

The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange index added 18.09 points or 0.42 percent to 4,366.59 while the all shares inched up 8.59 points or 0.28 percent at 3,050.26.

Losers edged out gainers, 66 to 65, while 35 stocks closed unchanged.

Five of the six sub-indices closed in the green with Property advancing 1.38 percent. Only Mining & Oil retreated with a 3.05-percent slide.

Volume traded reached P8.58 billion shares valued at P6.06 billion.

Oil higher in Asia on Chinese, Australian data

SINGAPORE – Oil prices rose in Asia Thursday on positive Chinese and Australian data, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, advanced 21 cents to $89.02 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for October delivery gained 29 cents to $115.14.

Data earlier Thursday showed China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index jumped to 50.9 in August from 50.7 the previous month, which was the lowest in more than two years. Anything above 50 suggests expansion while a figure below indicates contraction.

Those figures came as Australia released better than expected retail sales figures.

Asia’s factories quieter as exports slip

SINGAPORE — Slumping export demand slowed factory activity in some of Asia’s biggest economies in August, although China fared better thanks to solid domestic growth, a series of surveys released on Thursday showed.

The Purchasing Managers Indexes showed manufacturing contracted in South Korea and Taiwan as new export orders fell sharply. China’s official PMI increased slightly, the first rise since March, but it also reflected the effects of slowing demand in the United States and Europe.

China’s overall PMI rose to 50.9 in August from 50.7 in July, according to government data, a touch weaker than economists polled by Reuters had predicted. The new export orders index dropped to 48.3 from July’s 50.4.

Beijing pinned the blame for the sharp fall in export orders at least partly on the debt crises in advanced economies. The National Bureau of Statistics said the export sector was “facing challenges.”

PNoy woos Chinese investors, promises ‘level playing field’

NOTING that the Philippines is now more conducive to business, President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday faced Chinese businessmen and invited them to invest in the Philippines and take advantage of the “new wave of optimism” in the country.

“The Philippines is indeed open for business,” Aquino told the Philippines-China Economic and Trade Forum in Beijing. “I look forward to welcoming your investments into the Philippines.”

In his speech at the forum, which was held at the China World Hotel, Aquino said the Philippines is now more conducive to business as his administration is taking a clear direction toward transparency.

“We know that transparent and fair processes build investor confidence. More businesses mean more jobs, giving our people more chances to rise in society,” he said.

Ayala Land goes into socialized housing

AYALA Land Inc. is launching a new residential brand specializing in socialized housing developments that will offer a house and lot package costing no more than P400,000.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Ayala Land chief finance officer and senior vice president Jaime E. Ysmael said the socialized housing projects will be under South Maya Ventures Corp.

SMVC will be a separate organization from Ayala Land’s existing subsidiaries Alveo land Corp., Avida Land Corp. and Amala Land Corp.

“SMVC will offer mainly house and lot packages with prices not to exceed P400,000 per unit and is planning to launch its first project in Gen. Trias, Cavite within the last quarter of the year on a 10-hectare lot currently owned by the company,” Ysmael said.

Gov’t eyes front-loading 2012 projects to lift GDP

BUDGET and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said Wednesday the government may front-load projects for implementation next year this second semester to boost economic growth.

He said this was on top of the catching up they would do with government spending targets this year.

“We intend to further increase spending not only by accelerating existing projects but also by spending on additional projects allowed by the available fiscal space brought about by significant savings we have attained,” he said in a statement.

Among the additional projects being considered are the hiring of nurses and healthcare workers; rural electrification projects; infrastructure for agrarian reform; aquaculture support; on-site housing and resettlement; local roads connecting to national roads; farm-to-market roads and additional national roads and bridges, he said.

PHL sells seven-yr. T-bonds at 4.936%

Government sold P9 billion worth of seven-year Treasury bonds Tuesday at an average rate of 4.936 percent. The average rate was down by 6.4 basis points from 5.017 percent. Investors were on the prowl for opportunities where they can place their funds, said Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, who chaired the auction committee. “The investible funds […]

Gold surge draws prospectors, thieves worldwide

TOKYO/BANGKOK – It has been called the saint-seducing metal, with good reason.

As the price of gold rests near record highs, people from Spokane to Bangkok are selling jewelry or buying bullion, some are giving up steady jobs to take to panning while theft of gold chains and watches is on the rise worldwide.

“Panning for gold is becoming a real family affair, more popular now because of the gold price,” says Cordell Kent, who sells do-it-yourself mining equipment in the 19th century Australian gold rush town of Ballarat.

“Some people I know are making hundreds, even thousands of dollars on the weekends.”

Locals say rising prices and heavy rain earlier this year are leading to a surge in amateur prospectors, looking for flakes of gold washing up on river-beds.

ODA loans a bit down on low capacity to absorb

OFFICIAL Development Assistance (ODA) loans extended to the Philippines dropped to $8.31 billion as of end-June, down $0.53 billion year-on-year, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The ODA money as of end-June funded 68 projects worth a total of $7.27 billion and seven programs worth $1.04 billion, NEDA said. Of these, only five were closed during The period, while 66 are ongoing and the remaining four are yet to be implemented.

The drop in ODA loans is due to a lower level of absorptive capacity for the period, NEDA said, noting lower rates of disbursements and availments compared to the first semester of 2010.

According to the NEDA-Project Monitoring Staff (PMS), procurement and financial issues coupled with the suspension of contract and sharing schemes between the national and local governments contributed to the decline in disbursement rates.

Gov’t debt payments decline in Jan-July

GOVERNMENT debt payments amounted to P43.147 billion in July, bringing the total for the first 7 months to P451.918 billion, slightly lower than last year’s P453.487 billion.

The debt service in July was also 9% lower than the P47.358 billion the government paid during the same month of 2010.

The decrease in the payments came amid the Department of Finance’s efforts to better manage government financial obligations, mainly by lengthening their maturities.

In July, bulk of the debt service was spent on interest payments amounting to P41.2 billion. Of the amount, P20.46 billion went to domestic creditors, and the balance to foreign ones.

Meanwhile, principal payments reached P1.948 billion, of which about P1.248 billion was used to pay off foreign debts and the remaining P700 million was spent for the settlement of some local debts.