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Oil prices plunge after Doha output talks fail

Singapore, Singapore -- Oil prices plunged on Monday after the world's top producers failed to reach an agreement on capping output aimed at easing a global supply glut during a meeting in Doha. Hopes the world's main producer cartel, OPEC, and other major exporters like Russia would agree to freeze output has helped scrape oil prices off the 13-year lows they touched in February. But crude tanked after top producer Saudi Arabia walked away from the talks, which many hoped would ease a huge surplus in world supplies, because of a boycott by its rival Iran. Oil tumbled in early Asian trade after the collapse of Sunday's talks, with prices dropping as much as seven percent in opening deals. At around 0100 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for May delivery was down $2.11, or 5.23 percent, from Friday's …

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Oil producers fail to agree output freeze

    by Omar Hassan Abdulla and David Harding Doha, Qatar - The world's top oil producers failed to reach agreement on capping output in Doha Sunday amid a standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran and raising fears about how markets will react. Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada said oil producers concluded after six hours of negotiations that they needed "more time". "The general conclusion was that we need more time to consult among ourselves in OPEC and non-OPEC producers," Sada said. Rivalry between OPEC and regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran appear to have prevented a deal despite the six-hour formal meeting between 18 producers. Iran boycotted the meeting after refusing to abide by any production freeze agreement saying it wants to raise its output to pre-sanctions levels. Asked if Iran was at the centre of discussions which …

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ERC okays confidentiality on PEMC-Siemens contract

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has approved the request of Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) for “confidential treatment” of its contract with German firm Siemens AG relative to the ongoing project for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market’s (WESM) new market management system (NMMS). In granting the request, ERC took note of PEMC’s scale of data and information that may be compromised, if documents are made public. The NMMS of the spot market primarily supports the trading platform for electricity. As such, it entails voluminous data and information vital to the efficient functioning of a market as well as the power system.ERC logo   In a protective order issued by the ERC, it stipulated that it “grants the motion for confidential information filed by the PEMC for non-disclosure or confidential treatment of information.” It further directs …

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2016 is recovery year – PEZA

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) expects 2016 to be a recovery period despite an election year with growth forecast for investments of between 5 to 8 percent and exports to turn around from the negative territory in 2015. PEZA Director General Lilia B. De Lima told reporters in an interview during the 21st PEZA Anniversary and Investors’ Recognition on Friday that investments inflow could grow between 5 to 8 percent. The export-oriented agency generated P296.085-billion investments in 2015 or 5.58 percent growth over P279.47 billion in 2014. Its export performance is also expected to post a turnaround from negative 0.1 percent growth last year, albeit, she refused to give a number. With positive investments and exports performance, De Lima is confident that employment will grow by another 10 percent this year. Cumulative …

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More buyers prefer brand-new trucks

Brand-new heavy trucks now account for a higher 20 percent of total trucks on the road as more companies prefer to buy new ones than second- hand fleets because they are more cost efficient in the long run. Joseph Bautista, vice president for marketing of the country’s largest truck maker Isuzu Philippines Corp.(IPC), said this number is already a huge improvement from only 10 percent three years ago. “Buyers have realized that it is more efficient to buy brand-new trucks than second-hand because they have better performance and more reliable than the old ones,” he said. A truck can last 10 to 15 years. “The market is still second-hand but there has been an improvement,” said Bautista. Brand new trucks are also becoming more affordable because of the different financing being offered by several …

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Banks’ managed assets steady at P2.5T

The country’s large banks have assets under management (AUM) of P2.519 trillion at the end of 2015, a mere 0.80 percent improvement from the previous year’s P2.499 trillion. Based on Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data, of the total assets the cash and due from banks – and these include cash on hand – amounted to P378.17 billion, up 7.72 percent from the same period in 2014 of P351 billion. Deposits in banks also increased by eight percent from P487 billion to P526.47 billion. At the end of 2015, trusts holdings amounted to P1.531 trillion which is 6.76 percent higher from the same period of P1.43 trillion of the previous year. Of trust accountabilities, the unit investment trust funds (UITF) showed the most improvement, growing by 12.86 percent from P587.87 billion to P663.48 …

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SMC Group starts construction of MRT 7, Bulacan Bulk Water

Listed conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) Group., which has significant portfolio in the infrastructure sector, is ready to start this year the construction of two big-ticket Public-Private Partnership (PPP)Projects namely, the P69.3-billion Metro Railway Transit Line (MRT-7) and the P24.4- billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply. Alec Cruz, head of tollway project of San Miguel Holdings, said SMC intends to continuously support the government's plan to improve the country's infrastructure sector, which is far behind other countries in the world. As part of the effort, he said the company was already able to get the ball rolling for MRT-7 and Bulacan Bulk Water and that it is "ready to start" the construction of these two major PPP projects this year.   "This [MRT-7] has been in the plate since 2008. And now we are about …

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DOF confident of continued strong manufacturing sector

The Department of Finance (DOF) believes that robust domestic consumption and strong macroeconomic fundamentals would continue to boost the growth of the country’s manufacturing sector. Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said that the stronger manufacturing growth registered in February may be sustained as the country’s largest corporations anticipate increases in gross revenues and net income this year. “To ensure continued interest by investors, the country should continue to pursue infrastructure development and reform business procedures to hasten the process of doing business in the country,” Beltran said in his latest economic bulletin. Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries for February 2016, the Volume of Production Index (VoPI) grew by 8.4 percent, a turnaround from the 2.1 percent decline recorded in the same month last year. Similarly, the Value …

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G20 embraces crackdown on tax havens

Washington – The world's leading economies took a step Friday toward denying tax evaders and money launderers around the world the ability to hide behind anonymous shell companies. Acting in the wake of the ''Panama Papers'' scandal, finance chiefs of the Group of 20 (G20) powers meeting in Washington supported proposals requiring authorities to share the identities of shell companies' real owners. They also backed creating a blacklist of international tax havens that do not cooperate with information-sharing programs. Making the beneficial owners of companies, trusts and foundations transparent ''is vital to protect the integrity of the international financial system,'' the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors said in a statement. Doing so is important ''to prevent misuse of these entities and arrangements for corruption, tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering.''G20 logo The …

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Industry expects ‘gradual growth’ in e-vehicles

It will be a “gradual growth” in the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs or e-vehicles), but the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) is betting more on the role that this emerging segment of the transport sector will be achieving when it comes to regional integration as well as in reducing air pollution in the country. EVAP President Rommel Juan considers the recent award of 3,000 electric tricycle units to the private sector by the Department of Energy (DOE) as a major leap in “cleaner technology shift” for the transport industry, but he is anticipating further expansion into the future. “I would like to claim victory for the industry for the developments happening right now… we like to celebrate small successes. So, even if it’s just 3,000, just imagine 3,000 tricycles …

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