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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        21  May 2011

Hot money continues Philippine surge

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Transactions in foreign portfolio investments in the first week of May has already surged by more than a third, reflecting investors’ improved risk appetite for emerging assets.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that year-to-date foreign portfolio investments or hot money as of May 7 yielded a net inflow of $437.74 million, up 70 percent from $130.69 million in the same period last year.

The one-week flows have brought the cumulative foreign portfolio investments to $2.084 billion, up 50 percent from $725.55 million in the same period last year.

Monetary authorities have been attributing the strong hot money flows to the surge in investments in fixed income peso government securities.

Registered investments reached $1.7 billion in April, up from $1.6 billion in March. The BSP also said that investments in shares listed at the Philippine bourse continue to contribute the bulk of hot money inflows.

Latest data showed that investments at the Philippine Stocks Exchange went up 28.3 percent to $934 million from $728 million registered in the same month in 2010.

Major beneficiaries were holdings firms, banks, telecommunication companies, property firms and utility companies, all of which comprised 90.8 percent of total registration at the PSE, the BSP said.

The top five investors were the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, contributing 91.3 percent to total registered investments for the month.

Meanwhile, outflows for the first week of the month went up by 4 percent to $148.63 million compared with $142.79 million in the same period last year.

Cumulative outflows at end-May 7 inched up by 51 percent to $4.7 billion from $2.3 billion, year-to-date.

The BSP said favorable yields and less risky fixed income securities continued to attract foreign investments to the country.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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