Philippine News Roundup −22 May 2008

While the Philippines greatly benefited from the decline in the value of the US dollar during the past couple of years, the reverse effect can naturally be expected now that the dollar is appreciating. The dollar's decline from P50 down to the recent P40 significantly cushioned the country from the appreciation of the price of crude oil ($50 to a little more than $100/barrel). But now that the dollar has stopped declining and started to increase, every bit of hike in the price of oil will be felt and worsened by economic implications. Today, oil reached $134.15/barrel.

This will mean further increases in the price of basic commodities and greater incidence of hunger among the country's poor. This can be worsened by our country's demand for more dollars that is needed to purchase oil. The other day's closing rate of P43.89 increased to P43.24 as companies are back to speculative mode. A good number of them unloaded their dollar deposits during the past couple of years as the US currency continued to decline. But the appreciation has set them back into “hoarding” mode as they need dollars to pay for their imports. This will now be deteriorated further as currency traders and other speculators are most probably going to start buying dollars to be sold when its value has increased.

In the government, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita has been appointed to become the President's new spokesman in addition to his current post.

Going to the weather, the forecast for the next 5 days remains the same- cloudy skies, some rains and thunderstorms. Never ever forget your umbrellas. The coffee shops and restaurants have more than enough accumulated in their store rooms.

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