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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        7    May 2011

Philippine markets slide after central bank move

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The Philippine stock market and the peso weakened further a day after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) raised its key interest rates by another 25 basis points.

Share prices succumbed to profit-taking for the fourth consecutive session following the weakness in major bourses as lower local corporate earnings and the BSP rate hike weighed on investor sentiment.

At the Philippine Stock Exchange, the composite index fell 29.61 points, or 0.7 percent to 4,219.07, while the broader all-shares index lost 9.59 points, or 0.32 percent to 2,959.21. Losers beat gainers, 89 to 40, while 40 stocks were unchanged. A total of 7.22 billion stocks worth P6.71 billion changed hands.

“Stocks closed lower because of the weak regional sentiments despite oil prices going to $100 a barrel and not-so-good earnings of companies like Aboitiz,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director of First Grade Holdings.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 139.41 points, or 1.10 percent to 12,584.17 after jobless benefits surprisingly rose last week to its highest level since August, lowering expectations for the US government’s April employment report due Friday.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. reported a decline in profits, dragged mainly by the lower electricity prices and sales of its power unit, a major contributor to its earnings. Also dampening investor sentiment was the move of the BSP to raise borrowing costs by 25 basis points after inflation rose to a one-year high in April.

“The market was affected by the rate hike, resulting in the realignment of funds,” said del Castillo.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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