BIZ BUZZ: Line in the sand | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Line in the sand

/ 02:08 AM October 26, 2022

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s recent statement that the government won’t let the peso depreciate past 60:$1, and that there’s a $10-billion war chest for it, has bewildered many people.

“We are not alone in scratching our heads,” New York-based think tank Global Source said in a brief research note penned by economist Romeo Bernardo on Oct. 22.

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“We think that spilling these usually closely guarded secrets of the monetary authority is likelier than not to weaken its hand in managing the ongoing volatility in the foreign exchange market,” the note said, adding it would only become an invitation to test this line in the sand. That “modest” ammunition may just end up being wasted, it said.

Realizing his blunder, the former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor has since backpedalled, explaining that the BSP, now led by Felipe Medalla, is independent and its policy decisions are made by the seven-member Monetary Board (which he is part of).

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On Oct.24, GlobalSource issued another note saying “this prompt and explicit referral of monetary policy to the proper authority is a good course correction.”

As Medalla had said, a differential of at least 100 basis points between local and US policy rates would be needed to maintain some exchange rate stability. GlobalSource read this as a signal of a probable matching of forthcoming US interest rate hikes.

Meanwhile, Diokno isn’t likely to utter any more words that only invite speculative attacks anytime soon. Or ever.

— Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Beach business

A first-class city on the island of Palawan, Puerto Princesa is known for its booming tourism industry, robust urban development and untapped natural resources. As one of the greenest and largest cities in the Philippines, the local government is proactively taking steps so that the city will realize its economic potential.

As the country bounces back from its pandemic isolation, the local government of Puerto Princesa will hold a forum at Conrad Manila on Oct. 27 about investment opportunities in the city. With City Mayor Lucilo Bayron serving as the main speaker, the forum will feature businessmen who have given their vote of confidence.

The previous iteration of the event happened in 2019, generating over P26 million worth of investments for the city.

The Puerto Princesa local government is continuously improving its infrastructure to stimulate economic development. For one, it is revitalizing its central business district by constructing new commercial buildings to attract investments in its growing business processing outsourcing industry.

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The city government is also working to grow other industries, such as by planning to partner with investors to use land to build hotels and other establishments aimed at attracting people who want to experience and enjoy the city’s nightlife.

Even if millions of locals and tourists are charmed by the city’s natural resources, that does not mean the local government is resting on its laurels. This is because plans to further beautify key destinations such as the Honda Bay, Tagbarungis Eco-Park, Tagkawayan Beach, and the Acacia & Heritage Parks are in the pipeline.

With the island in reach, it’s all a matter of when to visit. The pandemic has taken the doors off the workplace, so why not take your business to the beach?

—Daxim L. Lucas

Long weekend traffic

The long weekend is just a few days away, and many people have already scheduled their much-awaited vacation and mapped out their itineraries. Before travelers get too excited, they should brace themselves for heavier-than-usual flow of traffic on the expressways.

NLEX Corp., which operates NLEx and SCTEx, said they were seeing an increase of around 10 percent in the average daily traffic volume this coming All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

It was to be expected.

“We will heighten our operations as we are projecting an increase of around 10 percent in our average daily traffic of 278,000 at NLEx and 71,000 at the SCTEx,” NLEx president and general manager J. Luigi Bautista said.

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 2, the toll road operator said they will be closely monitoring the high volume plazas. These include Balintawak, Mindanao, Karuhatan, Valenzuela (Paso de Blas), Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Sta. Rita, Pulilan and San Simon.

NLEX assured the public that over 1,000 patrol crews, traffic marshals, security teams, incident response teams and toll lane personnel will be ready to assist motorists.

—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad INQ
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