Philippines Extends Lockdown of Main Island Until End of April




 

(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines has extended a lockdown on Luzon island until the end of April, idling its economic engine and home to most of its population to counter the spread of coronavirus.

The quarantine that began in mid-March was set to end April 12, but given the sustained growth in virus cases the lockdown will have to stay, the government said Tuesday. The country will need to put more funds toward virus relief, as the 200 billion pesos ($3.9 billion) set aside so far for cash aid to poor families won't be enough, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.

"The economy is not moving, it's at a standstill," Duterte said, as he directed economic officials to find more funds to support citizens.

The president said he's considering further tweaking this year's 4.1 trillion-peso budget to shift more funds toward virus response. About 30 billion pesos meant for infrastructure could be diverted for efforts to counter the virus impact, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar told ABS-CBN News Channel.

The Economic Planning Agency said last month that even the low-end of its growth estimate -- a full-year contraction of 0.6% -- "is still too high" if restrictions to movement on Luzon, an island of 60 million people that accounts for 70% of the country's output, extend beyond one month without government intervention.

Hundreds of factories and business establishments have been closed in the lockdown, placing tens of thousands of wage earners in financial peril. Remittances from Filipinos working overseas, which account for about one-tenth of the economy, may decline by as much as 30% this year as thousands of workers return home, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told ABS-CBN News.

Pernia said he will propose opening more shops for basic needs and resuming manufacturing and agriculture operations to lessen the lockdown's blow. The Philippines had 3,660 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 163 deaths, as of Monday.

Central bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday that slowing inflation gives the monetary authority more room to ease policy, after it cut its key interest rate by 50 basis points last month and reduced banks' reserve ratio to 12% to bolster the economy. The bank also has bought 300 billion pesos of government debt and said it's open to more.

Late last month, the legislature granted Duterte extraordinary powers to refocus the budget toward virus response, with a package to support businesses currently being drafted.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Lebanon
Lebanon's migrant workers' plight worsens as crises multiply
  • World
  • 2020-05-26 06:08:46Z

Now, some 250,000 registered migrant laborers in Lebanon - maids, garbage collectors, farm hands and construction workers - are growing more desperate as a crippling economic and financial crisis sets in, coupled with coronavirus restrictions. Lebanon's unprecedented foreign currency crisis means that many migrants have not been paid for months or that the value of salaries is down by more than half. Others have lost their jobs after employers dumped them on the streets or outside their embassies.

Japan
Japan's Hottest Stock Is Tiny Maker of $40 Million Machines

(Bloomberg) -- The list of Intel Corp.'s annual supplier award winners tends to read like a who's-who of the semiconductor industry's biggest names. This year, it included a little-known Japanese company whose machines have become indispensable in the race to improve semiconductors and whose stock has been rocketing up as a result.Lasertec Corp. is the world's only maker of testing machines required to verify chip designs for the nascent extreme ultraviolet lithography (or EUV) method of chipmaking. In 2017, Lasertec solved a key piece of the EUV puzzle when it created a machine that can inspect blank EUV masks for internal flaws. Last September, it cleared another milestone by unveiling...

Sanofi to Sell Regeneron Stake Worth About $13 Billion
Sanofi to Sell Regeneron Stake Worth About $13 Billion

(Bloomberg) -- Sanofi is selling a stake in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. valued at about $13 billion, giving the French drug giant more firepower to invest in fast-growing fields such as cancer.Regeneron has agreed to repurchase $5 billion of its stock from Paris-based Sanofi, the companies said on Monday. Regeneron said that the French company also plans to sell approximately 12.8 million shares, a holding worth more than $7 billion based on Friday's closing price. That will mark the largest public equity offering in the heath-care industry on record.The announcement is part of Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson's revamped strategy. The company said in December that it would...

Philippine leader answers call of workers begging to go home
Philippine leader answers call of workers begging to go home

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has given his government a week to process some 24,000 repatriated Filipino workers stuck for weeks on cruise ships or in coronavirus quarantine, so they can finally go home. Thousands are aboard cruise vessels off Manila Bay or stuck in hotels and crowded health facilities, some growing frustrated having tested negative for the coronavirus and completed the mandated 14-day quarantine. Overseas Filipino Workers, or OFWs, are breadwinners and a key support base of Duterte.

U.S. Stock Futures Open Flat as Tensions Mount: Markets Wrap
U.S. Stock Futures Open Flat as Tensions Mount: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- Currency markets and U.S. equity futures saw a placid start to trading early on Monday as traders monitored more signs of economies reopening around the world against a deepening of tensions between the U.S. and China.The Australian dollar and the offshore yuan edged lower, though trading will be light with holidays in the U.S., U.K. and Singapore. The U.S. should give up its "wishful thinking" of changing China, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, warning that American leaders are potentially pushing toward a new Cold War. All eyes will be on equities in Hong Kong, where riot police clashed with protesters marching against China's move to crack down on dissent. Stocks...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America