Miracle needed | Inquirer Business

Miracle needed

11:27 PM January 25, 2015

THE POPE may be long gone from our shores, but Francis fever is still on in the country.

One day before the Pope’s visit to the Philippines earlier this month, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) unveiled designs for new commemorative coins to mark the Supreme Pontiff’s trip. Two coins were initially released, with P50 and P500 denominations.

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And for the first time in history, these coins were not sold over the counter. Instead, people were asked to fill out order forms and e-mail these to the BSP. So how many orders has the BSP received? As of last Friday, there were 22,000 e-mailed order forms, with each person requesting for more than one coin.

Three people were originally working on taking the orders and sorting them all out. But with thousands of e-mails, the responsibility of handling distribution has now been spread out over three departments, our sources say.

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“We’re oversubscribed!” one BSP official noted, when asked about the coins. So strong has been the demand that the policymaking Monetary Board has approved the production of more coins—but this still won’t be enough to meet current orders.

See, apart from its scarcity (and Pope Francis’ superstar power), the coins are also legal tender, which means the owners can use them to pay for actual stuff. According to the BSP, pure commemorative coins that are not legal tender just aren’t as valuable among collectors.
So if you want the coins but haven’t ordered yet, you’ll be needing a miracle.  Paolo Montecillo

Morgan Stanley
for Metrobank

THE COUNTRY’S biggest financial conglomerate is the top 2015 pick of Southeast Asia’s stock lord.

A Buzzard gave Biz Buzz a peek into Morgan Stanley’s Asia Pac ex-Japan’s (APxJ) and Global Emerging Markets basket of stocks where Metrobank of billionaire George S.K. Ty was slotted in.

“In the APxJ Focus List, Morgan Stanley removed  PTT Public and replaced it with Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. In the EM Focus List, we removed  Bank Zachodni and Grupo Santander Mexico and replaced them with Akbank and Metrobank,” the Morgan Stanley report said.

PTT Public Co. is a state-owned Thai oil and gas firm while Zachodni and Santander are banking giants in Poland and Mexico, respectively.

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Metrobank is  the only Philippine stock on both focus lists of Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley’s hotshot analyst Nick Lord said that while Metrobank’s growth has lagged previously, it “expects increased loan growth” this year, which should drive the “strongest underlying earnings per share growth among the Big Three banks.”

“Capital raising, were it to occur, could be accretive,” said Lord, referring to Metrobank’s planned P32-billion rights offering.

Based on the projected 7 percent growth of gross domestic product this year, Lord said Metrobank’s loans should grow by as much as 20 percent with net interest margins expected to widen from more exposure to consumer lending. In this scenario, the  target price is seen at P135.75 based on Lord’s assessment, or roughly 50-percent more than its current value.  Gil Cabacungan

Once more, with feeling

FORMER National Treasurer Bobby Tan is back in town and will take on his old post, while Finance Undersecretary Rosalia de Leon takes over the Philippines’ spot at the World Bank.

De Leon left for Washington D.C. last Jan. 13, after a slew of treasury work very early in the year. During her last few days as national treasurer, De Leon spearheaded the successful issuance of ROPs in the global bond market and finally sealed a deal with the BIR to put in place a “specials repo” for market makers in a bid to further bolster liquidity.

If there’s something among De Leon’s babies that she won’t be able to personally see the light of day anymore, it’s the start of non-restricted trading of government securities, whose live date had been postponed twice already “to ensure smooth implementation,” as she always told reporters.

But for De Leon, the biggest of her achievements as now ex-head of the Bureau of the Treasury will be not just leaving “mountains of cash” in the country’s coffers but, for sentimental reasons, the renovation and recent transfer to the Ayuntamiento de Manila now housing the agency, the historical structure standing proud next to the Manila Cathedral.

As for Tan, he would likely warm up to his former spot the soonest, although he will be taking care of the government’s finances from a new and more beautiful office building.  Ben O. de Vera

E-mail us at [email protected] Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: Buzz, Metrobank, Morgan Stanley, pope, stock lord
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