Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Long Past Due

(Edited) Wow. Just ten days after the New Year and all ready things are picking up steam. And it is that time of year again to poll the weather and see where we stand. January 2006 would prove to be an excellent barometer of things to expect for 2006--- as the country settles back into work mode and bring this nation out of holiday.

The political fires are of course far from over but the moves of the Opposition to topple Mrs. Arroyo's government remains difficult. As we have projected pre-holiday, Mrs. Arroyo will hold her own in the relative immediate future but her remaining in power until 2010 will be extremely difficult to accomplish, but not improbable. This year, does not bode well for President Arroyo as it will be a great struggle to maintain power, though the cards are still in her favor--- for now. The January 14 Lakas party meet and other events happening within January 2006 will greatly help in telling us how long she will stay in the Palace.

NEDA is projecting inflation to be in 8.0% to 8.5% range--- though we think it is not improbable to see 8.5 to 9 by years end, we prefer it go down of course. The weak economy--- 4% to 4.5% GDP is a sign of trouble ahead, though we would of course rather forestall that.

We expect it to be rather warm this year, but does that equate to better agricultural production? Agriculture of course didn't fare well in 2005 and steps to ensure food stability should be taken. That said, accelerating the use of technology in agriculture should be the way to go, and will help ensure stability in agricultural production. It is highly important that this industry be out most attention.

The stonger peso relative to the US Dollar (edit here)--- will help in bringing imported raw materials in town cheaper. Will this help improve the manufacturing industry? With the high cost of power and energy and the continued high cost of operating expenses will further put pressure on businesses already struggling. Making power cheaper will greatly help, though we are not likely to see that anytime soon as the cost of power production is extremely high in the country and shows no sign of being cheaper.

The services sector is being uplifted by the call center business, where the government is projecting 60,000 jobs will be created in 2006. One must understand that the business process outsourcing business is not new. Its been around for as long as Computers have been used in business, i.e. 1970s. Staying competitive in this industry is important as it is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Businesses will surely be affected by the political storm that is brewing. How much, we can not say for now. It is reasonably optimistic to project 4% GDP average for 2006. It does not look bright to reduce the high unemployment and underemployment rate. With banks being more tough as it struggles with bringing down the bad-debt ratio will mean continued difficulty in getting loans for startups and like risky businesses.

Charter Change goes full swing--- whether it actually pushes forward is still anyone's guess, though no one seems to understand why it should be done, even its proponents except perhaps people who have vested interests in it.

We'll keep stating the obvious--- people wanting to leave dodge city for greener pastures and they'll continue to find opportunities away. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

2006 promises to be an adventurous year--- how adventurous remains to be seen and highly difficult to say at this time. Yet we can also say that 2006 more likely remain the same old thing: politically mediocre, economically stale and culturally foolish. Then again, may be not, and we may surprise ourselves and we must hold out hope after all. Isn't that what our people are best at doing and are soon forgetting?

2006. So it begins. we need to get our act together, time to go work. Lets get started.