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Asia Macro Report

Election boost for the Philippine economy
The recent decision to hold interest rates at their current level places the Philippines in a position to reach the forecasted growth of 5.9%. This places them in a unique regional position, for many of the surrounding economies are trying to fight the damaging consequences of the Chinese slowdown. The upcoming election in May is expected to increase consumption, thus acting as an added bonus to the Philippine economy. The country is already seeing these benefits through the President's accelerated investments in infrastructure, a decision that is seen as being closely tied to the upcoming election.
By James Renton

Philippines, due to sell $2 billion worth of 25 year bonds
The Philippines is expecting to sell maximum $2 billion worth of 25 year bonds, while buying back shorter term bonds, or the more mature debt securities. As the country has observed its dropping rate of the 25 year bonds' yield over time, the act of selling seems to discard the loss and further benefit its exceptional economic growth in Southeast Asia. The Philippines achieved the growth of 5.8% in 2015, particularly in its outsourcing and property industries. Buy-back of the mature shorter term bonds would boost an inflow of foreign direct investment. Consequently, SM Prime's dominance in the property industry could further aid the expansion of accommodating foreign tenants in the firm’s shopping malls.
By Janice Kim

Qualms about $81 million Philippine Cyberheist
The Philippine banking system is embroiled in controversy after $81 million disappeared from Bangladesh's central bank and was deposited into four casinos in The Philippines. The Philippine senate is currently investigating the cyberheist. Anti-money laundering laws are weak in the Philippines. Filipino regulators have failed to keep up with the burgeoning growth of the gambling industry enabling hackers to perform one of the greatest banking heists in history. The tenuous bank secrecy laws draw major concerns from investors who worry about the strength of the Philippine economy. The heist has damaged the good reputation the government has built since Benigno Aquino was elected in 2010.
By Alex Spencer

Philippine imports register highest growth in five years
Total payments for imported goods increased 30.8% in January 2016, the highest amount since November 2010. The value of imported capital goods, accounting for 37.7% of total merchandise imports, increased 80.4%, the highest year-on-year increase since September 1996. According to the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, these statistics indicate the continued high level of investor confidence in the country. He continued, ‘[the] 10 other selected Asian economies saw a decrease in imports . . . with South Korea, Singapore, and China experiencing the steepest declines’. Import payments for raw materials intermediate goods increased 12.5%, which bodes well for industrial production; payments for imported consumer goods increased 29.3%. China, Japan, and the US continue to be the main sources of imported goods to the Philippines.
By Roberta Periquet

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