Financial Meltdown

Manila Bulletin, March 19, 2009 | Go to article overview

Financial Meltdown


Two questions we hear are: How will the global meltdown affect the Philippines and how long will it last? For the present, there is minimal effect on this country, because we do not have a large enough industrial sector or a non-agricultural export sector. It may, however, affect us on the rebound. This will probably not happen for some time. Maybe next year we may experience effects as for example if too many ships are decommissioned for lack of freight then our sailors will send home less foreign exchange. Right now we are in a boom situation with construction. New buildings and homes are being built. The good effects of this is being mitigated by withdrawals of foreign investments in the stock exchange and other direct investments such as slowing down of development of gold copper and nickel mines. The BPO as well as the call center businesses are hardly affected and may even improve because of this meltdown. Agricultural products are also in an upswing situation.Bananas have a special mini boom with the Japanese diet fad. Sugar is just holding its own while corn has higher prices than normal. Our rice situation is on holding pattern as the government is trying to push it with financing. But the new technology of hybrid rice has not yet panned out. It has been a success in some areas but a failure in others. The factors that differentiate the two are not yet clear. In Mindanao it has been for the most part a failure.The other question of how long will the meltdown in the mature economies last is important for us because if it lasts too long we will necessarily be affected. But most estimates say it will find a bottom about the last quarter of this year. …

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