News in Brief

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Peso rate at P40.567

The peso reference rate remains at P40.567 to the U.S. dollar, the weighted average rate pegged at the Philippine Dealing System of the Bankers Association of the Philippines last Friday.

IMF review on fiscal side

The forthcoming review of the country's economic performance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will focus more on the eroding fiscal position, according to acting Bangko Sentral governor Amando Tetangco Jr. He said the monetary side of the review would not be a problem as it remains supportive to the economic growth aspiration of the country. To be scrutinized are the country's economic targets for this year, with emphasis on the fiscal position and its outlook, Tetangco said. He said the IMF will still pursue how the national government incurred a largerthan-programmed deficit last year. The acting BSP Governor, however, believed that the Fund review mission will not deal lengthily on it, but would want to solicit firm assurances that such situation will no longer happen. Last year, the national government overshot its deficit ceiling, posting a P111 billion in budget deficit as against the P85.4 billion programmed level. For this year, however, Finance Secretary Jose T. Pardo expressed optimism that the P62.5 billion agreed limit with the IMF can be attained.

Electronic exports up 11.7%

Electronics exports posted $1.53 billion, up 11.7 percent from $1.37 billion the previous year to lead the country's top dollar earners for December 1999. Semiconductor devices, and other finished electrical and electronic machinery and parts, both manufactured from materials imported on consignment basis, accounted for 54 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively. Receipts from articles of apparel and clothing accessories went up 10.9 percent to $220.23 million from $198.56 million a year earlier. Men's wear, among those manufactured from materials on consignment basis, accounted for the biggest share placed at 15 percent of the total apparel exports. Accounting for 23.7 percent, the United States remained the top market for electronics and components, despite a 5.5 percent dip in value which settled at $363.25 million, from $384.55 million in December 1998. Exports to Singapore amounted to $187.54 million, or 12 percent of the total. Netherlands was third biggest market with $164 million, followed by Taiwan, $156. …