• ‘Lolo Kiko’ and local business

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    Ej Lopez

    Ej Lopez

    Despite the real threats that surround the current visit of the Holy Father to the Philippines, the elaborate security preparations for the Pope are still worth it. Although the Pontiff’s real intention is to comfort the disaster victims in Eastern Visayas, everyone in the country, from all walks of life, are excited and looking forward to his coming, as if the good Pope, or “Lolo Kiko” in our local lingo, is the only source of economic relief.

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    Complementing the spiritual journey that the Filipino people are currently experiencing is the increased confidence that we could finally earn from business stakeholders around the world. Subtly, the mere presence of the Holy Father reverberates among the circle of elite investors around the world who are in search of an investment destination. The goodwill created by the Pontiff’s visit to our country will be to the local business environment’s credit. It should be noted that the Holy See not only maintains and promotes Catholic and religious advocacy, it also maintains diplomatic or political relationships with other countries.

    The Pope as titular head and acknowledged leader of the Vatican preserves a respectable image that is esteemed. As Vicar of Christ, the Pope is a model of good and honest leadership that is beyond reproach. With that in mind, his official visit to any country is a welcome relief and is seen as complementary to strengthening political and economic stability of the region. The Pope’s visit should not be dismissed as a mere pastoral call to a country of 90 million Catholics. Rather, it is also a display of strong support and confidence in the country’s potentials as an economic and political refuge.

    Hopefully, this eventful occasion will put us on the map of the favored nation status among investors who are in search of probable investment destinations.

    Implications of oil price decrease
    No one is more ecstatic at the continuous decrease in the prices of oil in the market than our local industry. Marginal consumers of petroleum products, like jeepney drivers and private motorists, are experiencing a heyday because such phenomenon inevitably provides them a bigger take-home pay, an increase in their savings, or extra funds that they can channel to more important expenses. This situation is likewise favorable to the local economy considering that this by inevitably brings stability and strength to the local currency.

    But these are mere short-term benefits of the oil price depression because the long-term effects are more disastrous than the short-term benefits. It should be noted that oil is a major and common component of the industry. Its continuous price decrease is an indication of worse things to come. It is quite surprising that at this time of the year, when Western countries are still shivering in winter temperatures, consumption is questionable. Traditionally, at this time of the year, oil exporting countries have their hands full as far as production is concerned. Prices steadily increase in support of the growing industry in western economies, but the current situation does not support this.

    Surprisingly, prices of oil have gone down for the nth time since late last year. Is this a sign of things to come? A sign that businesses in the West still have not recovered and are still reeling from the impact of the “financial meltdown” a decade ago, or that advanced countries like the US and the European region have become oil sufficient?

    We are not privy to the fact the United States has been developing its own sources of energy. Other countries are only on track with their thrust toward achieving self-sufficiency in oil. But the grim scenario facing us is the prospect of an economic slowdown as reflected by the depressed usage and price of oil and oil products in the Middle East region.

    On the local front, we are still heavily dependent on oil and other oil products; but the investment environment that we maintain is highly dependent on the movements of international business. International trading is heavily influenced by the West, and whatever happens to the West reverberates to the rest of the world which includes the Philippines.

    In the meantime, we have no other recourse but to enjoy the benefits of a relatively stable market that is brought about by what seems to be a continuous fall the price of oil in the world market.

    For comments e-mail: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com.

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