From the Front Page: Rice imports ‘unimpeded’, FDIs surged, Inflation peaked?

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A fresh nine-year high leaves top officials conflicted over whether we’ve seen this year’s peak for inflation. President Duterte orders “unimpeded” rice imports to counter soaring prices on basic goods. And foreign direct investments more than double year-on-year in July. This and more in your weekly recap of BusinessWorld news, From the Front Page.

By SparkUp Team

Following a fresh nine-year high logged in September, top officials are conflicted over whether we’ve seen the peak for inflation this year. Both the central bank and President Duterte’s economic team believe we’ll be seeing prices of basic goods rise no higher than 6.7 percent. But some analysts hold that external factors could still see the inflation pick up before year-end.

In a bid to stem the effects of inflation on staple goods, President Duterte ordered “unimpeded” importation of rice, a key contributor to the nation’s surging inflation rates. Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque described the request as a “full liberalization” of the market, with no approvals necessary for the importation of rice.

Meanwhile, net inflows of foreign direct investments (FDI) reached $914 million in July, more than double the $344 million received in July 2017. Observers believe the surge shows that the Philippines remains a “legitimate investment destination” in the region. FDIs infuse additional capital for the Philippine economy, in turn creating more jobs and spurring domestic activity.

S&P Global Ratings assured that the Philippine economy stands on solid ground due to recent reforms and “the strength of steady inbound remittances from Filipinos working abroad,” keeping the country resilient to external shocks. The economy is seen to grow by 6.7% this year, lower than the government’s 7-8% target, though still among the fastest in the region.

Four local firms and one foreign company, Norway’s Telenor Group, have firmed up their interest in joining the “third telco” auction, aimed at breaking up the country’s telecommunications duopoly. The National Telecommunications Agency was surprised by the first-day turnout, sharing that even more firms are expected to purchase bid documents before Nov. 7.