Service industries spur Philippines

Updated 01 February 2013
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Service industries spur Philippines

MANILA: The Philippine economy expanded 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, lifted by a strong performance from service industries, the government said.
It said the robust growth was led by household spending, helped by low inflation and remittances from millions of overseas workers.
Economists have credited renewed confidence in the Philippines on President Benigno Aquino III’s push to reduce graft and improve governance following a succession of corrupt governments.
For all of 2012, the economy grew 6.6 percent.
Services rose 7.4 percent in 2012, industry was up 6.5 percent and agriculture rose 2.7 percent.

The economy grew a feeble 3.9 percent in 2011.
It still faces challenges, including decrepit infrastructure, rampant poverty and unemployment and low foreign investment.
“Good governance generates confidence that translates to more economic activity,” said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who credits the growth to Aquino’s anti-corruption reforms.
Purisima said for 2013, the government will focus on accelerating the implementation of projects, programs and policies put in place to ensure that growth momentum is sustained.
Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the biggest challenge is to address the country’s power problems to allow investments, manufacturing and exports to pick up and have a greater share in the growth that is now led by consumption.
He said the government is seriously addressing the country’s energy requirements, with the aim of raising generation capacity, achieving reliable and adequate supplies and expanding rural utilities.
The Philippines has been dogged by an inadequate power supply due to a backlog in investments in expensive power infrastructure.
It also has among the highest power rates in the region.
Balisacan said massive investments are also needed in the agriculture sector, including farm-to-market roads to improve connectivity, and greater access to credit for farmers.


Brent crude oil rises for a sixth day as supplies tighten amid strong demand

Updated 25 min 30 sec ago
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Brent crude oil rises for a sixth day as supplies tighten amid strong demand

  • US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $68.98 a barrel, up 34 cents
  • The potential of renewed US sanctions against Iran is pushing prices higher

SINGAPORE: Brent crude oil rose for sixth day on Tuesday, passing $75 a barrel, on expectations that supplies will tighten because fuel is rising at the same time the US may impose sanctions against Iran and OPEC-led output cuts remain in place.
Brent crude oil futures climbed to as high as $75.20 a barrel in early trading on Tuesday, the highest since Nov. 27, 2014. Brent was still at $75 a barrel at 0311 GMT up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from its last close.
Brent’s six-day rising streak is the most since a similar string of gains in December and it is up by more than 20 percent from its 2018 low in February.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $68.98 a barrel, up 34 cents, or 0.5 percent from their last settlement. On Thursday, WTI rose to as high as $69.56, the most since Nov. 28, 2014.
Markets have been lifted by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which were introduced in 2017 with the aim of propping up the market.
The potential of renewed US sanctions against Iran is also pushing prices higher.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA said new sanctions against Tehran “could push oil prices up as much as $5 per barrel.”
The US has until May 12 to decide whether it will leave the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions against OPEC’s third-largest producer, which would further tighten global supplies.
“Crude prices are now sitting at the highest levels in three years, reflecting ongoing concerns around geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which is the source of nearly half of the world’s oil supply,” ANZ bank said.
“Oil strength is coming from Saudi Arabia’s recent commitment to get oil back up to between $70 to $80 per barrel as well as inventory levels that are back in the normal range,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
OPEC’s supply curtailments and the threat of new sanctions are occurring just as demand in Asia, the world’s biggest oil consuming region, has risen to a record as new and expanded refineries start up from China to Vietnam.
One of the few factors that has limited oil prices from surging even more is US production, which has shot up by more than a quarter since mid-2016 to over 10.54 million barrels per day (bpd), taking it past Saudi Arabia’s output of around 10 million bpd.
As a result of its rising output, US crude is increasingly appearing on global markets, from Europe to Asia, undermining OPEC’s efforts to tighten the market.