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Think tank: Lower oil prices to help buoy a coronavirus-hit PH economy

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:22 AM March 12, 2020

Lower global oil prices would serve as a “modest” offset to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Philippine economy, UK-based Oxford Economics said.

“Under the current period of extreme uncertainty, the economic boost from a decline in oil prices will be modest. Relative to previous oil price collapses, monetary authorities will find it difficult to respond to the negative demand shock as deflatio­nary pressures mount,” Oxford Economics economists Gabriel Sterne and Luka Raznatovic said in a March 10 report titled “Weak oil a modest global offset to coronavirus impact.”

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Over the weekend, world oil prices plunged to a four-year low of about $30 per barrel due to fears the spread of the new virus causing COVID-19 was curtailing glo­bal demand amid slower tra­vel, tourism and manufacturing. These, coupled with the failure of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to agree on production cuts, Oxford Economics noted.

If global oil prices stayed at the $30-per-barrel level for the rest of the year, an additional 0.5-1 percent could be added to the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP), Oxford Econo­mics estimates showed.

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Also based on this price scenario, inflation in the Philippines would be reduced by about 0.9 percentage point from baseline.

Besides the Philippines, o­ther big “winners” from an oil price slump would be China, India, Indonesia and Argentina. On the other hand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mexico, Australia, Norway, Romania and Malaysia would be the “losers,” Oxford Economics said.

On a global level, a low oil price environment would add 0.3 percent to world GDP, the think tank added.

Among emerging markets, India, China, the UAE, Indonesia, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovenia would also see a 0.8-1.3 percen­tage point reduction in inflation. —BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: (COVID-19) outbreak, oil prices, Philippine economy
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