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AMLC freezes assets worth P647 million

THE Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has frozen P647 million worth of assets year-to-date, higher than 2019's total, AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgi B. Racela...

GIR climbs to fresh record at end-August

THE COUNTRY’S dollar reserves hit a new record at end-August on the back of gains from the central bank’s investments abroad. Gross international reserves (GIR) rose by 15% to $98.95 billion as of August from $86.03 billion a year earlier, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released on Wednesday showed. GIR also climbed by 0.36% from the $98.6 billion logged at end-July. The end-August tally is already above the central bank’s $90-billion projection for this year. BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno last week said the country’s dollar reserves could go beyond $100 billion by year-end. Ample foreign exchange buffers protect the country from market volatility and ensure the country can pay its debts in the event of an economic downturn. “The month-on-month increase in the GIR level reflected inflows mainly from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad,” the BSP said in a statement.  Meanwhile, the rise was partially offset by foreign currency withdrawals use to pay debt obligations of the national government as well as revaluation losses from the central bank’s gold holdings amid a decrease in prices of the metal. The BSP said the end-August tally is equivalent to nine months of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also about 7.6 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.8 times based on residual maturity. Broken down, gold reserves stood at $12.039 billion, 50.19% more than the $8.015 billion seen a year ago but down 4.41% from the $12.595 billion logged as of July. Gains from investments abroad, which made up the bulk of the reserves, jumped 12.1% year on year to $82.446 billion from $73.522 billion and by 1.56% from the $81.177 billion logged the month before. On the other hand, foreign currency deposits dropped by 9.27% to $2.505 billion from $2.761 billion in the same period last year. It also decreased by 12.62% from the end-end-July level of $2.867 billion. The country’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by 33.8% to $753.7 million from $563.3 million a year ago and by 0.41% from $750.6 million the prior month. Special drawing rights — or the money the Philippines can tap from the IMF — stood at $1.209 billion, 3.51% higher than the $1.168 billion seen a year ago and up a tad from the end-July’ level of $1.168 billion. The continued rise in the country’s dollar reserves will help boost the peso, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message. “Stronger recovery of OFW remittances may also contribute to higher GIR to uncharted highs in the coming months,” Mr. Ricafort added. Cash remittances rose 7.8% year on year to a seven-month high of $2.783 billion in July, mainly fuelled by inflows from land-based overseas Filipino workers. However, the seven-month level of $16.802 billion was still 2.4% lower year on year. The BSP expects a 5% decline in cash remittances this year due to the coronavirus crisis. — L.W.T. Noble

Yields on BSP’s term deposits inch down ahead of bond offer

YIELDS ON term deposits auctioned off by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) mostly fell on Wednesday ahead of the central bank’s maiden offering of securities on Friday.

Online child porn transactions surge amid COVID-19 lockdown

SEXUAL offenders have exploited the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, leading to a surge in online child pornography transactions during the lockdown, according to a study by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

AMLC asserts authority to police deficient KYC

THE Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said it will impose sanctions on organizations with lax internal controls against money laundering, including those that demonstrate shortcomings in meeting know-your-customer (KYC) rules and training standards.

June FDI inflows highest in 3 months

NET INFLOWS of foreign direct investments (FDI) to the Philippines rose for a second straight month in June as lockdown restrictions eased in the Philippine capital, but it was not enough to reverse the slump during the first half.

Cash remittances hit 7-month high in July

CASH REMITTANCES reached a seven-month high in July, as land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFW) continued to support their families during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

BSP likely to keep policy steady

THE GOVERNMENT should prioritize measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic as it looks towards economic recovery, with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) likely done easing policy to stimulate activity, the International Institute of Finance (IIF) said.

BSP can lend more to gov’t under Bayanihan II

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is now allowed to lend more to the Treasury to boost its coffers for the coronavirus pandemic response under the newly signed Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan II) law.

BSP rate cuts totaling 75 bps seen likely in fourth quarter...

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will likely reduce rates by a further 75 basis points (bps) cut in the fourth quarter to provide support to the economy, amid constraints on the fiscal side of the economic stimulus program, Nomura Global said.

‘Second wave’ to bring more pain to developing economies via reduced...

FURTHER outbreaks in countries hosting migrant workers could deepen the economic downturns there, threatening wages, jobs, and ultimately remittances, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Infrastructure push to aid recovery

THE government’s decision to refocus its flagship infrastructure program will help the Philippine economy recover faster from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.

Banks’ soured loans highest in 6 years

LOCAL BANKS’ bad loans continued to rise in July as the economy was battered by the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the industry’s nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio to its highest level since 2014.

Digital banks urged to tap youth, small firms to boost presence

VIRTUAL BANKS in the Philippines looking for growth opportunities must target the young and unbanked as well as small businesses, S&P Global Ratings said.

Banks borrow P3M from rediscount window in Aug.

LENDERS LOGGED minimal availments from the rediscount window of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in August, showing banks are still armed with enough cash to service their clients’ needs.

BSP to issue own securities next week

THE central bank is set to begin selling its own securities on Sept. 18, saying this will become an additional tool in managing liquidity in the financial system.

Duterte needs to put policy reforms in place by yearend —...

THE Duterte administration needs to put policy reforms in place to attract more foreign investments by end-2020, before the presidential election campaign gets underway, according to an analyst.

Yields on term deposits inch up as BSP sets first bond...

YIELDS ON the term deposits auctioned off by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) mostly inched up on Wednesday amid an increase in bond supply in the market, with the central bank set to make its maiden issue of securities next week.

PHL, Bangladesh most vulnerable to remittance slump — Fitch

THE PHILIPPINES and Bangladesh are the most exposed to a decline in remittances during the pandemic, in terms of number of households dependent on the inflows, a dependency which has increased due to the weak labor market, according to Fitch Ratings.

PHL may see worst slump in ASEAN

PHILIPPINE gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink by 8% this year, the steepest projected decline among economies in Southeast Asia, according to Fitch Ratings.

PERA pushed as state pensions not enough for retirees

THE government targets to have five million Filipinos with personal equity and retirement accounts (PERA) in the next five years, as it launched an online platform to make it easier for them to invest.

Rate cuts less effective in current inflation environment — BPI

THE current inflation environment will mean only marginal benefits from further rate cuts, a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) economist said. 

BSP sees loan growth to pick up by yearend

BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno expects credit growth to pick up by yearend, as consumer and business confidence is restored with easing lockdown measures over the next few months.

Digital payments for business purposes gaining traction 

Filipinos are more inclined to use digital payments for business purchases amid a broader shift to that payment channel due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Visa, Inc.

BSP shifts to active gold trading

THE central bank’s decision to go into active gold trading is seen as a timely move, as the price of the safe-haven asset has risen amid the pandemic, analysts said.

Islamic banking seen to support Marawi rebuilding

THE REHABILITATION of Marawi can be supported by the establishment of Islamic lenders and banking units that have Shariah compliant mechanisms as this can aid small businesses and build infrastructure in the war-torn area, an official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

August inflation eases to 3-month low

By Marissa Mae M. Ramos, Researcher and Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter Inflation eased to a three-month low in August amid improved supply as the economy...

Payment surplus narrows to $8 million in July

By Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter The balance of payments (BoP) posted an $8-million surplus in July, the smallest in more than seven years, amid a...

Jobless rate eases from record level

THE COUNTRY’S unemployment and underemployment rates declined in July compared with those seen in April as lockdown restrictions were gradually eased.

Moody’s sees steeper Philippine economic contraction

MOODY’S INVESTORS Service slashed its gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for the Philippines to -7% this year, after a deep recession in the first half dented hopes for a quick economic rebound.

AMLC looking into foreigners’ use of Filipino dummies in retail

THE Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said it has detected the use by foreign nationals of Filipino dummies in the retail industry to get around foreign-ownership restrictions.

FDI net inflows bounce back in May

FOREIGN INVESTMENTS into the Philippines jumped by 42% in May, reversing three months of decline due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on investor confidence, the central bank said on Wednesday.

Yields on term deposits inch up as budget deficit widens in...

YIELDS ON the term deposits auctioned off by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) rose on Wednesday following the wider budget deficit as of July amid expenses for the government’s pandemic response and declining tax revenues.

BSP uses sandbox approach to boost electronic payments

THE CENTRAL BANK is using a sandbox approach to support the growth of digital financial players in the “new normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Assistant Governor Iluminada T. Sicat.

Pandemic drop-outs bring school population below 2011-2012 levels

THE high drop-out rate in the K-12 system has reset the school population to levels not seen in nearly a decade, economists from Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines said.

Thrift, rural banks back proposed tweaks to Agri-Agra credit quotas

SMALL LENDERS expressed support for the central bank’s proposal to include sustainable financing as part of their compliance with the mandated credit under the Agri-Agra Law as this will help boost the capital of pandemic-hit businesses geared towards sustainability.

Remittance decline seen weakening consumer spending, demand — Diokno

THE DECLINE in cash remittances due to the coronavirus pandemic will translate to lower consumer spending as well as demand, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.

Inflation likely edged up in August

THE inflation likely edged higher in August, as food prices and transportation costs rose when lockdown restrictions were brought back for two weeks earlier in the month, analysts said.

BSP sees August inflation at 2.5-3.3%

Inflation likely ranged at 2.5% to 3.3%, mainly driven by an increase in oil prices, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said...

‘Hot money’ flees PHL for 5th month

FOREIGN PORTFOLIO investments (FPI) fled the Philippines for the fifth straight month as investor confidence remained weak amid uncertainties brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

BSP wants to count green loans against Agri-Agra compliance

THE CENTRAL BANK is looking to encourage lenders to build up their  sustainable loans by counting these as part of the mandated Agri-Agra credit,  Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said.

Pawning activities dropped in first semester

PAWNSHOPS saw a decrease in consumers tapping them for services in the first half of the year, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.

Central bank flags potential systemic risks from global recession

THE central bank vowed to ensure financial stability in the market, as it raised the possibility that “systemic risks may materialize” due to the global recession.

TDF yields inch higher as BSP keeps rates steady

YIELDS ON the term deposits auctioned off by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) mostly climbed on Wednesday following its decision to maintain benchmark rates and due to expectations of faster inflation this year.

AUB tweaks loan schemes amid pandemic

ASIA UNITED Bank Corp. (AUB) has modified loan schemes for borrowers heavily hit by the coronavirus crisis following its assessment of individual accounts.