Philippine consumer prices rise at fastest pace in 26 months

Philippine consumer prices rise at fastest pace in 26 months
The central bank’s February inflation rate was forecast at range of between 4.3 percent and 5.1 percent. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 05 March 2021

Philippine consumer prices rise at fastest pace in 26 months

Philippine consumer prices rise at fastest pace in 26 months
  • Highest uptick in consumer prices posted since January 2019, when the inflation rate hit 4.4 percent

DUBAI: Philippine consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in 26 months in February, with food and transport items leading the surge, the government’s statistical agency said on Friday.

National headline inflation accelerated further to 4.7 percent in February, from 4.2 percent a month ago and 2.6 percent during the same period of last year. This is the highest uptick in consumer prices posted since January 2019, when the inflation rate hit 4.4 percent.

“The uptrend in the country’s inflation was mainly brought about by the uptick in the inflation of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 6.7 percent during the month, from 6.1 percent in January 2021,” the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a statement.

Also contributing to the uptrend were the higher annual increments in commodity groups including particularly transport and alcoholic beverages and tobacco, the agency added.

“Headline inflation breached the upper bound of the 2 percent – 4 percent target range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for a second consecutive month,” ANZ Research said in an Asia note released on Friday.

“Volatile ‘food’ and ‘transport’ prices have been the key drivers, eking out gains on the back of supply disruptions,” it added, noting a slack in the economy has held back a broad–based price rise.

ANZ Research expects the central bank to keep its current monetary policy path.

J.P. Morgan Stanley, in a research note, agreed: “We continue to expect BSP to stay on hold through 2021, looking past the transitory supply-side pressures amid a fragile economic recovery.”

“Headline inflation is set to remain around current levels and above the BSP target in coming months, and likely falling back into the target range in 3Q, considering base effects on fuel prices picking up despite food price pressures likely subsiding.”

In a statement on Friday, the BSP reiterated February’s inflation print was ‘consistent’ with its forecast inflation uptick for the first half of the year due to weather-related disturbances, the effect of the African swine flu on food costs and higher global oil prices.

The central bank’s February inflation rate was forecast at range of between 4.3 percent and 5.1 percent. Average inflation meanwhile expected to remain within the 2 percent and 4 percent target range over the central bank’s policy horizon.

“The overall balance of risks to future inflation continues to lean toward the downside owing mainly to the continued uncertainty caused by the pandemic on domestic and global economic activity,” the central monetary authority said, noting upside risks could emerge from a possible early COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Philippines.

Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist at Union Bank of the Philippines’ corporate research unit, meanwhile expects inflation to continue to rise in the near-term, but may soon begin its descent as prices continue to normalize with supplies, hopefully, normalizing as well.

“We may start to see a slowdown in price upticks soon,” Asuncion said.


Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo
Updated 51 min 40 sec ago

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo
  • It comes as some big airlines are faced with competing forces of supply and demand in the cabins and bellies of their aircraft

DUBAI: Emirates has converted 16 passenger planes to transport cargo and is also using some of its fleet to carry goods in the cabin.
Nabil Sultan, Emirates SkyCargo divisional senior vice president said the airline was studying its capacity, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Sunday.
“So far we have converted 16 passenger aircraft to fully cargo flights,” he said. “We also use the remaining fleet, where we have put cargo in the main cabin, especially to move essential PPE goods and various other medical material.”
It comes as some big airlines are faced with competing forces of supply and demand in the cabins and bellies of their aircraft — as cargo volumes accelerate while at the same time passenger numbers remain subdued.
Earlier on Sunday Emirates said it would begin shipping aid for free into India to help fight the coronavirus.
It comes as air cargo demand has risen to its highest recorded level ever in the wake of the pandemic.


Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data
Updated 09 May 2021

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data
  • The group started publishing its own inflation data in September amid claims from opposition parties that the official agency is under-reporting price increases

DUBAI: Turkey’s statistics agency filed a criminal complaint against a group of local researchers publishing alternative inflation data, Bloomberg reported.

The government body demanded ENAGroup, an independent inflation research group, be fined for “purposefully defaming” the official statistics institution and “misguiding public opinion,” according to documents seen by the news wire.
The group started publishing its own inflation data in September amid claims from opposition parties that the official agency is under-reporting price increases, Bloomberg said
ENAGroup’s inflation figures are higher than the official data. Its consumer price index rose 2.62 percent in April from a month earlier, more than double the 1.1 percent reported by the official agency. The group reported an annual inflation rate of 36.7 percent for 2020, Bloomberg reported.
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan said that the statistics agency filed a complaint against a group “for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.”
The group aims to “damage and discredit the Turkish Statistical Institute” by spreading misleading data that are used by opposition parties, Elvan said.

 


Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO
Updated 09 May 2021

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO
  • ADNOC is planning to take the unit public in the third quarter
  • ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) has invited investment banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for the initial public offering of its drilling unit, two sources told Reuters on Sunday.
The oil giant invited a handful of international and local banks to take part in the process of the public share sale of ADNOC Drilling, which is due later this month, they said.
ADNOC is planning to take the unit public in the third quarter, they added. One of the sources previously said ADNOC could raise at least $1 billion from the share sale.
ADNOC, which supplies nearly 3 percent of global oil demand, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Sunday.
ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs, including 75 onshore rigs, 20 offshore jackup rigs, and 11 well water rigs, according to its website.
The drilling business is critical for ADNOC’s upstream operations, helping the oil company reach its production targets.
ADNOC Chief Executive Sultan Al-Jaber has been chief architect of the transformation strategy the company embarked on more than four years ago, building an investment team to monetise assets and raise funds from international private equity groups.
It is also planning to float Fertiglobe, a fertiliser joint venture with Dutch-listed chemical producer OCI later this year.


Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal
Updated 53 min 4 sec ago

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal
  • IHC-owned Multiply Marketing Consultancy (MMC) acquired the minority stake in the company

DUBAI: A unit of Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company (IHC) has acquired a stake in Google-backed Firefly, which provides street-level digital media on taxis and rideshare vehicles.
IHC-owned Multiply Marketing Consultancy (MMC) acquired the minority stake in the company, it said in a stock exchange filing on Sunday.
Firefly operates across major US cities, working with major taxi and rideshare companies to install advertising displays atop their vehicles.
The proprietary screens feature content based on location, and are Internet-enabled. The platform attracts millions of impressions per month, according to a statement.
The deal will expand the company’s operations in the Middle East, and will set up an office within MMC’s Abu Dhabi headquarters.
“Investments in our communications vertical ensure that our media teams are servicing our local clients with the latest, most innovative and analytically-precise technology available on the market,” MMC chief Samia Bouazza said.
Gulf governments are ramping up their technology investments in a regional race for supremacy in the sector which is seen as a critical path to economic diversification.
Firefly will become part of Multiply Group’s communications vertical, which includes global agency MMC, Viola, as well as other minority stakes in companies such as Yieldmo, a digital advertising and attention analytics company.


ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel

ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel
Updated 09 May 2021

ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel

ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel
  • The proposed deal implies an equity value for Arkan of about 1.4 billion dirhams

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi industrial conglomerate Senaat has submitted an offer to Arkan Building Materials to merge it with its own Emirates Steel unit.
Under the proposed deal, Emirates Steel would be transferred to Arkan in consideration of a convertible instrument which would on the closing of the deal convert to 5.1 billion ordinary shares at a fixed price of 0.798 dirhams per share in Arkan’s capital.
The proposed deal implies an equity value for Arkan of about 1.4 billion dirhams, the building materials company said in a filing to the Abu Dhabi stock exchange.
Post completion, ADQ-owned Senaat would own approximately 87.5 percent of the entire issued share capital of the combined group
Should an agreement be reached between the two parties, a general assembly meeting would consider approving the transaction during the second half of this year, Arkan said in the statement.
Emirates Steel is a leading integrated steel manufacturer in the Middle East region, based in Abu Dhabi.