Manila Business Briefs March 2016
Food in PH. - Lets start with a suggested list of good food establishments in Manila. For those who haven’t been in “Manila” for years we can report that nearly all eating places have lifted their game considerably. That includes the old established “take out” joints from McDonalds up.
Margarita Fores has just been voted as Asia’s best female chef for 2016. She has what has been described as food “chain” in the city. The highlight of her food empire is CIBO restaurants. Go to www.theworld’s50best.com
Also recommended – Mercato Central, Friday and Saturday, 6pm to 3am, Corner 7th Avenue and 25th Street. Go to Farmers Market anytime. Here is the ultimate in up market - Champagne Bar Lusso in Greenbelt.
While we care talking food – there are reports that the humble coconut is coming out of its shell. Ha ha – joke only. The current market price for dried copra in March was US$1448 per tonne an increase of 50% over the average price in 2013. Also coconut water has jumped 37% over the last two years. Here is a statistic that will impress you. Coconut water exports 66.3 million litres and the oil 2.1 million tonnes Unfortunately typhoon Haiyan in 2013 destroyed 44 million trees, 15% of the existing trees at that time. Like in most agricultural economies, the poor old farmer cops it in the neck again.
More Bad News – on the growing front, a deadly new banana fungus in creeping around the world. It is known as Panama disease. This disease blocks off the plant vascular system which in affect cuts off the flow of water and nutrients to the plant. It is now in South East Asia, Middle East and now Australia. Very little money has been allocated to stopping the march of the disease. The reason is there is no money. However be rest assured the Australian Government has found 60 Billion dollars to purchase 12 submarines. Its not known if a sub can sink a diseased banana disease but time will tell.
Sadly, the Spratley dispute continues to expand in spite of no shots being fired – so far. Its all a bit of cat and mouse at the moment. The Philippines continues to really ignore the facts. The Chinese continue to build and develop the air/military/naval presence there. It’s a no stand off stand off. American naval, marine and air force have returned to the Philippines in very small numbers to Clarke and Subic and that’s the latest update. In another development the Philippine Navy impounded a vessel (cargo) in Subic which they considered to be owned/belong to North Korea. The vessel Mu Jin Teng appears to sail under a variety of flags of convenience, but has been declared North Korea along with 31 other floating worldwide. This seizure has been authorized by a United Nations resolution resulting from the claim that North Korea exploded a nuclear bomb. We live in very interesting times.
Electricity – Philippines – USA – Its too early to report this status. Things will start hotting up in the end of April/May/June. The big one to watch is the USA scene. The problem is serious. In my opinion and a heck of a lot of others, feel Donald Trump is nothing but a serious nutter. People are flabbergasted at the antics and very strange statements coming from his mouth and brain. His presence also demonstrates how the Republican Party lost the control and plot of its internal affairs. These is no sane excuse for what has and is happening. With Donalds finger on the nuke button and the intransigence of North Korea – anything can happen. It appears that everyone took their eyes off the ball, and doesn’t number one shows he know no bounds. We also live in strange times.
Here is a quick way to make money. Pinch it from a central bank. Yes folks – that’s what happened. It appears two Chinese Nationals organised a transfer of US$101 million from the Bangladesh Central Bank to Manila. Mr Kim Wong, a Manila based gambling junket operator spoke to a Senate hearing in Manila that he helped the men deposit US$81 million with Solaire Casino and Resort. Then there were a series of transfers to other casino bank accounts and guess what? There was no more money to transfer after everyone got their cut. Senator Teofisto Guingona III is chairman of the proceedings expressed his disgust. Older readers will remember the crusading Guingona II and Guindona I faced the same crooked system. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile said “right now I think foreign Governments think of the Philippines as a weak link in the international financial system.
Once again how the game has changed. This snippet relates to shipping in Asia and as you can imagine the Chinese have played a trump card again. The new standard in shipping size is the the Valemar – this master can carry 360,000 tonnes of bulk cargo. The nearest completion is Capesize weighing 180,000 tonnes. As you can imagine this big size has changed the economics of bulk shipping. In 2008 the cost of Capsize was $200,000 per day. Currently a Capsize can be chartered for $2000 per day. Yes - $2000. Needless to say the shipping companies have not passed on the savings.
Check this movie out – 4 Star – “Metro Manila”. Its social justice, a presentation about poverty, move to live in Manila etc etc. You can get it on SBS On Demand download. Well done by the movie maker.
The Immigration Minister has announced that after all the behind the scene deals his department managed to settle 2 boat people in Cambodia at a cost of $60 million. One of them did a runner and appears to have gone back to Afghanistan. The whole shambles is typical of the Minister and crew not understanding the ins and outs of the game. All you can see now is the Minister at a press conference surrounded by a bunch of head nodders!
Naughty Philippines Casinos taking the loot off the table at the Casino in Australia. The Crown CEO proclaimed that “we could have grown double digits if we offered the same as some of the Casinos in the Philippines.” The CEO is Matt Bekier. I’ll give you a tip Matt – its called competition and you ain’t competing. In addition, the drinks are overpriced and the food is lousy. Look internally mate.
Further Information on the Return of American Forces to The Philippines is to hand – The Philippine Government is making the announcements. So far they have advised that four air bases will be established and one army camp. The return of American forces have been described as a rebalancing exercise. The announced locations are:-
Fort Magsaysay Luzon – (Army)
Basa Air Base Luzon
Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base Cebu
Antonio Bautista Air Base Palawan
Lumbia Air Base Mindanao
It would appear that the Lumbia Base will have a dual role. Counter Terrorism Operation into Mindanao, an area that is becoming more critical every week. The Islamic threat in Mindanao continues to strengthen. There have been a series of kidnappings of foreigners and a few beheadings of locals who don’t comply with direction.
A Grand end to Manny Pacquiao's in-ring career, he left the ring in decisive fashion last 9th April on Saturday, earning a unanimous-decision victory at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. All three judges scored the fight 116-110 in favour of Pacquiao. The fighters each carried a win against the other heading into Vegas on Saturday night. Timothy Bradley Jr. won a contentious split decision in June 2012, while Pacquiao left little doubt as to the result with a unanimous-decision victory in April 2014. It was Pacquiao's first fight in nearly a year. Great for Manny and good for the Philippines.
Lack of Investment News – the reason for no investment news is that there is nothing to report because of the impending elections. Everyone is busy out in the hustings. But its coming soon.