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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        21  March 2011

Increase in Philippines interest rate seen

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is expected to raise its key interest rates during this week’s meeting of its policy-making Monetary Board.

“As I said two weeks ago, the scope to keep rates low has narrowed still holds,” BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. told reporters over the weekend.

Tetangco also said the Monetary Board during its upcoming meeting on Thursday would tackle the possible effects the disaster in Japan would have on the price of oil and other commodities. “The Japan situation would also be tackled during the forthcoming policy meeting,” Tetangco said. He said the Japan situation likewise will have an impact on the Philippines’ exports, remittances, and official development assistance.

“The full impact [will be known] after complete assessment is made one or two weeks [from now] because now it’s [the review] still ongoing,” he said.

A possible increase was felt during last Tuesday’s auction as government raised only P5.4 billion out of a programmed P9 billion from the sale of 10-year Treasury bonds. The 10-year rate reached 7.367 percent or 144.8 basis points higher than the 5.919 percent quoted when the debt papers were last auctioned off in September 2010.

“Insofar as the interest rates are concerned the honeymoon is already over. We are now in the adjustment period,” National Treasurer Roberto Tan has said last week.

At the secondary market, done deals for 10-year notes stood at 7.375 percent.

The week before the -10-year T-bond offering, investors showed strong appetite for short-dated Treasury bills, with the 91-day IOU quoted at 1.041 percent or 61.4 basis points lower than when the same papers were offered in February.

In a research note, Barclays Capital said the BSP will hike its policy rate by 25 basis points on March 24 and deliver at least 75 basis points of increases, taking the policy rate to 4.75 percent by July.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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