Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

G20 Summit & the protests in London streets

April 1, 2009

The Group of Twenty (G20)

“The Group of Twenty (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was established in 1999 to bring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy. The inaugural meeting of the G-20 took place in Berlin, on December 15-16, 1999, hosted by German and Canadian finance ministers.

The G-20 is an informal forum that promotes open and constructive discussion between industrial and emerging-market countries on key issues related to global economic stability. By contributing to the strengthening of the international financial architecture and providing opportunities for dialogue on national policies, international co-operation, and international financial institutions, the G-20 helps to support growth and development across the globe.

The G-20 is made up of the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and also the European Union who is represented by the rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank.”—-Source: http://www.g20.org/

Meeting in London, UK

The G20 leaders of major economies worldwide are meeting in London to thresh out measures to solve the conomic crisis. The one day summit on April 2, 2009 will be attended by countries from where ¾ of the earth’s people live and generate 80% of the world’s trade. They will focus on reforming rules of international banking, investments and trade, funding to stimulate the economy, and oversight over the global markets—to stave off the effects of the worsening economy.

France’s Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy earlier threatened to leave the conference if leaders can’t come up with a strong international regulation of the financial markets which is opposed by Britain and the United States. China’s Central Bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Finance Minister Xie Xuren called for reforming the international financial system, with Zhou adding a proposal to replace the dollar as the global currency. IMF Dominique H. Strauss and Brazilian Pres. Luis Inacio Lula da Silva think having a global currency other than the US dollar is a reasonable idea.

Earlier, da Silva decried that poor countries had to suffer because of the mistakes of rich nations and the crisis is caused by “white people with blue eyes” who appeared all-knowing before the economic downturn.

Attending the summit with big promise because of his popularity, US President Barack Obama, comes with a huge baggage of spending — an over-bloated domestic budget that puts taxpayers money in line and the finances of future generation. A growing number of Americans are pessimistic that Obama will succeed in countering the economic meltdown that treathens to bankrupt America. There is disapproval to his aggressive government regulation and overspending.

Many G20 nations question how America, bogged by astronomical budget deficits and debts and blamed for the bad economy, is using its dollar to bring health to the economy. With differing suggestions to solve the crisis, leader attendees have to work beyond mere cooperation.

The heads of state from the top industrial nations are met with opposition from about 1,200 anti-capitalists, anarchists, and environmental groups in the British capital. People frustrated with the economic slump battle truncheon-wielding policemen with knives, stones, and eggs. At the eve of the meeting, an angry protester held a placard which says, “It’s our money that they have stolen.”

There is a mix of high expectation and pessimism for this summit. Confidence in the financial system is low. Poor and developing countries, some on the edge of collapse, are alarmed that a protracted money crisis can push economies to fall and cause instability and chaos.

Setting aside $250 billion as a rescue fund to bail out fragile economies has been proposed. “I’m going to ask the G20 summit to support a global expansion of trade finance of at least $100 billion to help revive trade in all parts of the world,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. (Photo Credit: Ben Heine x 2) =0=

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More OFWs leave the country for jobs abroad

March 24, 2009

It should tbe consolation to the Philippines that more Filipinos work outside the country in January this year than last year. Philippine Overseass Employment Administration (POEA) reports that 165,737 compared to 132,285 left the country for jobs abroad.

This resoundingly affirms the sustained global preference for our skilled and semi-skilled overseas Filipino workers (OFW), and their productive role in staving off the adverse effects of the global slowdown in the greater portion of the world’s economies,” said Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.—GMA TV News (03/24/09, Tan, JT)

The exodus of workers to foreign land has brought about US$16.4 billion dollars to the Philippine economy. In spite of the economic benefits, working abroad has caused a lot alienation, family displacement, and separation.

Filipinos still need to develop local placements and not rely on foreign work opportunities which disrupt local labor. There are many jobs with difficult working conditions abroad and Filipinos are forced to take them for lack of employment in the country. It is not hard to imagine that many of these jobs are menial, dangerous, and demanding that many locals of host countries refuse to take. (Photo Credit: Atsibatsi)=0=

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Fearless economic forecasts

March 10, 2009

Dominique Strauss-Khan

In a warning delivered by IMF Managing Dir. Dominique Strauss-Khan during a conference of African finance ministers and central bank governors, the International Monetary fund (IMF) speaks of the deepening global financial crisis and the possibility that the world’s economic growth will be zero.

The financial meltdown can cause massive suffering, social displacement, and chaos in vulnerable countries.

The effects of the downturn may not be fast in reaching Africa, but Srausse-Khan said, “continued deleveraging by the world’s financial institutions, combined with a collapse in consumer and business confidence, is depressing domestic demand across the world.”—-Philstar (03/10/09)

Warren Buffet

On the other hand, American billionaire Warren Buffet who has the common sense of living “below his means” believes America will bounce back even though “it has fallen off a cliff.” The “Oracle of Omaha” who predicted the worst case scenario in the last 6 months, watches a nation swept with a housing slump, high unemployment, and inflation. He sees lack of confidence, confusion, and fear are defining consumer behavior at this time.—The Washington Times/ AP (03/09/09, Funk J)

Harry S. Dent

Similar gloomy predictions have been made by American economist Harry S. Dent in his book “The Great Depression Ahead : How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History.” The book is a good read. He speaks of this year as a bad season—ushering economic turmoil that none of the current generation has seen.

Nouriel Roubini

Nouriel Roubini, professor of NYU’s Stern School of Busicness believes the US recession could last up to 36 months. With no hope of ending the recession this year, “Dr. Doom” said,, “Growth is going to be close to zero and unemployment rate well above 10 percent into next year.”—-CNBC (03/09/09, Wells, J)

Pres. Barack Obama

But President Barack Obama offers bright economic forecasts with his proposed $3.55 trillion budget. He predicts that the economy will shrink by only 1.2%, and will recover in 2010 with a growth of 3.2%. However, non-partisan analysts believe this is overly-optimistic.—McClatchy Newspapers (02/26/09, Hall, K)

The public is less upbeat than Obama, but people are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Midway in the 100-day honeymoon period after assuming presidency, he gets a 67% approval rating, a very good grade at this time when Americans are fearful and disconsolate over the financial ruin they are dealing.(Photo Credit: Atsibatsi)=0=

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For lack of local jobs, Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo asks Filipinos to leave for employment abroad

March 2, 2009

Without enough jobs available locally, Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo continues to call on her people to pursue jobs abroad. About 500,000 employment positions, mainly in construction are available in the Middle East, Australia, and Canada.

This is the recommendation of the country’s president (the “top economist and chief executive officer”) for the employment-seekers present in a job summit at the Malacanang Palace.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Augusto Syjuco advises Filipinos to take alternative courses in butchery, tile-laying, roofing, carpentry and other menial jobs just to survive in a growing economic crisis.

Something is wrong with their recommendations. The policy of sending Filipinos outside has drifted away from the task of government to provide livelihood for its people. For the government to adopt a policy of encouraging talents to leave the country is objectionable.

An estimated 9 million Filipinos are currently working abroad to support families and help avert the financial collapse of the country. Government critics complain that more Filipinos will be separated from their families and placed in risky conditions as a consequence of being forced to leave the country.

There is sadness in seeing a president advise its people to take menial work abroad as a way to build a nation back home—much more sadness in seeing officials propose second courses in preparation for jobs availabe outside. (Photo Credit: Mark Hillary) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Who says we are spared from the effects of recession?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/27/2009

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Who says we are spared from the effects of recession?

February 26, 2009

Presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said the Philippines wasn’t among the Asian countries affected by the worldwide recession. It might be a lie that Malacanang Palace wanted us to believe. He based his conclusion to the non-inclusion of the country in the International Labor Organization (ILO) list which projects 113 million jobs loss in Asia as the world economy continues to falter (Malaya , 02/20/09 Bengco, R.) According to ILO, the expected unemployment number this year will be more than the 22.3 million jobs Asian countries lost in 2008.

It will do us good if we look closely at the data Golez is referring to before we celebrate. We aren’t that trusting anymore. The effects of the financial meltdown are just beginning to show. It is foolhardy for him and the government he represents to assume that we aren’t affected.

The unemployment we see in the street is a better gauge than the assurances of government officials. We see what food we eat and what clothes we wear. Most of us are familiar of the signs of chronic job loss and their aftermath. The employment stagnation in the country is long-standing and antedates the global economic meltdown.

5,500 OFWs lose jobs—–Arroyo

“Some 5,500 Filipino overseas workers have lost their jobs abroad and returned home over the past four months, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Thursday. The Department of Labor announced earlier this week that 39,000 Filipinos had lost their jobs since October, a number which included overseas workers.”—Agence France-Presse/ Inquirer (02/26/09)

Foreign companies are pulling out their business operations in Manila. Unemployment among fresh graduates continues to rise. There is pervasive underemployment and lay-offs. The rush for jobs abroad doesn’t abate even if applicants downgrade their qualifications just to grab work even if it is risky and suffers from inadequate pay. With a bearish investment climate, people are afraid to shell out money that stir spending and growth. The number of impoverished Filipinos continues to rise.

Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s job creation is too little to assuage the fear and anger of the public. The government projects that are quick-disbursing, high-impact, and labor intensive (according to Management Dir. Hermogenes Esperon) don’t come close to reality when one sees the widespread unemployment, poverty, and corruption in the country. That’s why we rely early on ourselves more than depend on announced legislated measures by the administration. (Photo Credits: Slavishtubesocks; JRIOrion)=0=

3,000 IT & 10,000 semiconductor jobs at risk

At least 3,000 information technology (IT) jobs are at risk in first quarter alone while 10,000 positions in semiconductor industry could be shed during the first half of the year due to the global economic slump.”—GMANewsTV (02/28/09)

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Promises from Obama’s speech to Congress

February 25, 2009

With his ambitious assurances that he’ll lead the country to a brighter future, Pres. Barack Obama delivers his speech to the joint session of Congress, the first in his month-old administration, saying that more money will still be required to take care of the worsening banking crisis. He went on to discuss his budget priorities to be spent on energy, healthcare, and education.

In an optimistic tone, in spite of the faltering economy, Obama said, “Tonight, I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.’ “—Yahoo News/ AP (02/24/09, Loven, J)

It sounds good.

Responding to Obama’s speech, the Republican minority through Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana reiterates the party’s cooperation with the administration, but it believes the $787 billion stimulus package passed by the democratic majority is excessive, wasteful, and irresponsible. This is a massive amount which will be taken from taxpayers’ money. The government hasn’t shown any slowing on its extravagant spendng which hurt the common person in the main street.

The reaction of the public is mixed. Many may have been consoled by Obama’s assurances which they badly want to hear, but there are lingering doubts on whether the stimulus package will work. The majority expects it will —although there’s no convincing indication that this is true.

Consumer confidence is down. Persistently, many ask how one can spend his way out of the recession without compromising the finances of the next generation. There is distrust in the way the government spends public money. But almost everyone wants to believe things will be better, the world brighter, after Obama’s address. (Photo Credit: Iwriteplays)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Obama addresses congress for the first time” Posted by mesiamd at 2/25/2009

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Obama addresses congress for the first time

February 25, 2009

Pres. Barack Obama at present enjoys high level of public support optimism and confidence. Americans badly needs him at this time even if political trust doesn’t necessarily translate to economic confidence. The stock market for the last month continues to flounder in spite of the change Obama has been pursuing.

Those badly hurt by the economic downturn watch silently where the recovery program will go. Rightly so, it is early to give in to pessimism, but there is a cause for concern.

Those with money are afraid to invest—the stock market behaves erratically as if to suggest that something isn’t right. It is expected to go for undetermined amount of time in spite of the bold assurances of Obama. People badly affected by the financial crisis are confused, some can’t get over their shock on what’s going on.

Opinion on B. Obama:

——————————–Approve———–Disapprove——–No Opinion

His job as president————63%—————–22——————-15
Foreign Policy——————-57%—————–17——————-26
The Economy——————-57%—————–32——————–11
Iraq Situation——————–54%—————–24——————–22
Source: New York Times (02/23/09, Zeleny, J; Thee-Brenan, M)

On Tuesday, February 23, at 9PM eastern time, Obama will address the joint congress. He enjoys strong political clout with about 2/3 of the American people supporting him. A rising number however is skeptical. In spite of the benefit of the doubt, many are struggling to fend off their ambivalence. There are those who feel they’re practically on their own, without much reason to believe the government will look after them since their finances have been ruined by mismanagement. They can’t take the thought of bailing out irresponsible Americans in cahoots with unscrupulous bank lenders who bought homes beyond their means.

Obama’s Disapproval Rating Doubles

According to a recent Gallup poll, Obama’s new disapproval rating rose from 12% last month to 24% this month. This is 50% higher than the 16% average for a month-old new presidency. —-Los Angeles Times ( 02/24/09, Malcolm, A)

Americans really can’t be too trusting these days, not even with Obama’s popularity. Words cannot change reality. Sixty (60%) of the public worries that someone in the family will lost a job in the coming months or the next year. Fifty-five (55%) of the Americans says they are just trying to make ends meet. While Americans are under no illusion to believe that the economic problem will die down soon, it’s unclear if they who are extravagant and used to good life can weather the turbulence of the recession.

In spite of the media’s overwhelming biased adulation for Obama (as described in Bernard Goldberg’s book “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media “)it is still the truth that matters. People can’t live with the promises and eloquent words of a president, they need to see tangible results, especially those who put their reliance on the government to solve their problems. (Photo Credit: Alex Johnson)=0=

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The promise and uncertainty of the $787 billion stimulus package for the US economy

February 15, 2009

The economic stimulus package of the Obama administration has finally passed the scrutiny of the US senate. It only needs the signature of the president on Tuesday, February 17, 2008, to make it into law. Lacking bipartisan support, the Democrats in the senate and congress overwhelmingly voted for the $787 billion package touted to bring back the US economy on track. The Republicans and their conservative supporters disagree.

The astronomical dollar tag on US recovery doesn’t assure that it will succeed. Amidst a crisis of confidence, there are Americans who are alarmed. Critics of the legislation doubt whether the plan will deliver on its promises. Without much basis to back their trust, majority of Americans rest their hope on Pres. Barack Obama to fix the economy. Supporters are optimistic, in fact, overly optimistic.

“The legislation, among the costliest ever considered in Congress, provides billions of dollars to aid victims of the recession through unemployment benefits, food stamps, medical care, job retraining and more. Tens of billions are ticketed for the states to offset cuts they might otherwise have to make in aid to schools and local governments, and there is more than $48 billion for transportation projects such as road and bridge construction, mass transit and high-speed rail.”— Yahoo.News/AP (02/14/09, Espo, D)

There is a growing belief that no one buys its way from a recession. It is scary to pump in such huge money which puts taxpayers’ money on line. More borrowing and spending won’t easily bring back the trust on Wall Street which reneged on its fiduciary duty. There is doubt on those who warn of worse consequences if the public doesn’t rally behind the stimulus plan that nobody fully understands. Many don’t know why the American people are asked to spend for social services of illegal aliens, bail out banks, auto industry, and every ailing business in the country.

Obviously rushed to approve the bill, almost all congressmen (246 vs. 183) and senators (60 vs. 38) didn’t have time to read the legislation which is about a thousand pages long. It is expected the more the public comes to understand the details of the bill, the more people will disapprove. Many are dissatisfied with government officials (the spoiled and extravagant leaders,) from both the Republican and Democratic parties, who negligently brought the people into this economic mess. Those who are hurting wait for the day that the guilty must be held accountable.

There is a cautionary voice out there saying the economic downturn is unlikely to be reversed by this ambitious government rescue plan. Neither will prosperity come by giving away dole-outs to the poor, jacking-up government spending, giving perks to illegal aliens, distributing wealth, and raising the tax burden of workers and entrepreneurs. This seems to be affirmed by Pres. Obama who welcomes the bill’s passage but cautions the whole world that it’s just the start of an economic remedy whose success isn’t assured. There is a big chance that if this money splurge doesn’t work, additional funding will be asked for more massive spending.

Instead of the bloated stimulus spending with a budgeted cost of $787 billion to revitalize the US economy, conservatives have proposed a leaner spending. Unlike the democrats who dominate the Capitol Hill, Republicans assert that the recovery rests on tax cuts, smaller government, less interference with private money, and a return to traditional entrepreneurship and business ethics.

Though it’s early to tell what will be the outcome of the changes promised by Obama, there those who are silently angry and fearful. There are tell-tale signs that one can see with trepidation. Americans are used to live in gilded cocoons on productive fields that they can control. Now they are forced to face uncertainty. The big depression that they haven’t experienced with the rest of the world looms real in the horizon. (Photo Credit: Londa Elle; almostnomad; worsebrain)=0=

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The promise and uncertainty of the $787 billion stimulus package for the US economy

February 15, 2009

The economic stimulus package of the Obama administration has finally passed the scrutiny of the US senate. It only needs the signature of the president on Tuesday, February 17, 2008, to make it into law. Lacking bipartisan support, the Democrats in the senate and congress overwhelmingly voted for the $787 billion package touted to bring back the US economy on track. The Republicans and their conservative supporters disagree.

The astronomical dollar tag on US recovery doesn’t assure that it will succeed. Amidst a crisis of confidence, there are Americans who are alarmed. Critics of the legislation doubt whether the plan will deliver on its promises. Without much basis to back their trust, majority of Americans rest their hope on Pres. Barack Obama to fix the economy. Supporters are optimistic, in fact, overly optimistic.

“The legislation, among the costliest ever considered in Congress, provides billions of dollars to aid victims of the recession through unemployment benefits, food stamps, medical care, job retraining and more. Tens of billions are ticketed for the states to offset cuts they might otherwise have to make in aid to schools and local governments, and there is more than $48 billion for transportation projects such as road and bridge construction, mass transit and high-speed rail.”— Yahoo.News/AP (02/14/09, Espo, D)

There is a growing belief that no one buys its way from a recession. It is scary to pump in such huge money which puts taxpayers’ money on line. More borrowing and spending won’t easily bring back the trust on Wall Street which reneged on its fiduciary duty. There is doubt on those who warn of worse consequences if the public doesn’t rally behind the stimulus plan that nobody fully understands. Many don’t know why the American people are asked to spend for social services of illegal aliens, bail out banks, auto industry, and every ailing business in the country.

Obviously rushed to approve the bill, almost all congressmen (246 vs. 183) and senators (60 vs. 38) didn’t have time to read the legislation which is about a thousand pages long. It is expected the more the public comes to understand the details of the bill, the more people will disapprove. Many are dissatisfied with government officials (the spoiled and extravagant leaders,) from both the Republican and Democratic parties, who negligently brought the people into this economic mess. Those who are hurting wait for the day that the guilty must be held accountable.

There is a cautionary voice out there saying the economic downturn is unlikely to be reversed by this ambitious government rescue plan. Neither will prosperity come by giving away dole-outs to the poor, jacking-up government spending, giving perks to illegal aliens, distributing wealth, and raising the tax burden of workers and entrepreneurs. This seems to be affirmed by Pres. Obama who welcomes the bill’s passage but cautions the whole world that it’s just the start of an economic remedy whose success isn’t assured. There is a big chance that if this money splurge doesn’t work, additional funding will be asked for more massive spending.

Instead of the bloated stimulus spending with a budgeted cost of $787 billion to revitalize the US economy, conservatives have proposed a leaner spending. Unlike the democrats who dominate the Capitol Hill, Republicans assert that the recovery rests on tax cuts, smaller government, less interference with private money, and a return to traditional entrepreneurship and business ethics.

Though it’s early to tell what will be the outcome of the changes promised by Obama, there those who are silently angry and fearful. There are tell-tale signs that one can see with trepidation. Americans are used to live in gilded cocoons on productive fields that they can control. Now they are forced to face uncertainty. The big depression that they haven’t experienced with the rest of the world looms real in the horizon. (Photo Credit: Londa Elle; almostnomad; worsebrain)=0=

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Filipino hope & optimism

February 1, 2009

If only to prove that Filipinos are among the “happiest” people in the world, the poll by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted last December shows that our kababayans are as optimistic as ever. Despite the gloomy picture of the economy, about 30% of Filipinos expect things will get better in the next 12 months. The positive outlook eases the worry at the time when the country was celebrating the Christmas holiday and the coming new year.

Economic pessimism, meanwhile, remained high in Metro Manila, worsening to -37 from -33. It eased to -21 from -28 in the Balance of Luzon, to -13 from -17 in Mindanao, and -15 from -18 in the Visayas. It eased to -8 from -22 among the class E; to -22 from -30 among the ABC classes; and stayed at -24 among class D, the survey found.—GMATV.News (02/02/09)

The basis of the bright outlook which rose 4% percentage points from three months ago is unclear. The government attributes the people’s hope to resiliency. Palace officials say the poverty-alleviation programs set up by the administration are giving the people some breather.

Yet, since economic hardship still remains high and indicators don’t generally support bullish confidence in the country, cultural and psychological factors may be at play to influence the survey’s optimistic result.

We rightly laud our innate positive mentality which helps us cope with the economic crisis. But we have the temptation to look at reality in a blurry prism, sometimes with a tinge of “denial.” Our country is mired in a protracted “crisis” which makes it tempting to rest painful issues at the back-burner. Perhaps, the survey should not bring us that much of hope if we understand our situation more. (Photo Credit: Usman Farooq)=0=

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