Much ado about nothing, the peso volatility

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Ej Lopez

Ej Lopez

The past week, the nation has been preoccupied with what has seemed to become a national issue and even outshone and outstaged economic and political issues more relevant to national welfare. Time again these personal issues like that of actor Vhong Navarro and some recidivist personalities has caught the attention of the people and even the national leadership, that it will not be surprising if it goes to the extent that Congress with conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation.

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Celebrity misdemeanors or incidents have always been the interest of many if not majority of the people, be it from the upper or lower class; that they find solace if not interest in dwelling in these topics as if these incidents are significant and relevant to their economic status. Yet, if an issue appropriate to the nation is at stake, both to the political and economic welfare, the peoples’ expected level of enthusiasm seem to lack in depth if not wanting in interest.

Perhaps it is the Filipino culture’s closely-knit nature that brought us to this kind of behavior, which could either be beneficial or otherwise. On one hand, the show of force by the netizens and the media hype of the Vhong Navarro incident, though trivial and of less significant to a Filipino who is suffering from extreme hunger and living below the poverty line, is bound to create a social transformation and awareness in the current phase of our system (police protocol, security, personal protection and the likes).

On the other hand, because of this much “celebrated” case, more important issues like the fund misuse involving several politicians and leaders, which should be given more attention, will take a backseat because of “less relevant” concerns. As such, the Navarro case has caught the attention of many because of personalities involved, that people try to associate themselves to the character that make them portray a role, momentarily forgetting frustrations brought about by political and economic ambiguities.

Peso volatility
The recent devaluation of the peso against the US dollar does not imply a local economic breakdown, foreign market domination, trade or balance of payments deficit, or any other economic losses. The peso’s volatility is brought by an increase demand of US dollars by the United States itself or primarily for the local market purpose. It is a sign of a Western economic recovery and a market exodus from our local shores straight to the Western shores. Though there seems to be no clear determinant of a resuscitated US economy but perception, the built-in trust in this economic giant will always be a reckoning factor in the choice of investment destination.

Unlike other economies who are wanting in economic reputation, the US economy can hold on its own without really trying. It is widely perceived that the worst is over in the US economy and this perception is good enough to bolster economic activity, and hope to resuscitate what has become a prolonged fiscal drought. In the long-run if not sooner than expected, these series of positive growths is enough to galvanize what was a mere perception of development.

Locally, the peso volatility stands to stay within reach and competitive against other currencies. Mere observation will tell us that the appreciation of the dollar is confined to itself compared to other currencies that from all indications will remain constant.

Bangko Sental ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco’s declaration that the peso volatility is not inflationary has confirmed the isolated growth of the dollar. There may be an increase in prices of commodities, but it could have been because of US origin and influence. But to say that other economies may have appreciated is also saying that local economy has also achieved the same if not a better growth; in fact ours has 7.2 –percent gross domestic product growth rate in the year 2013, a high achievement by any standards.

From all indications, the peso volatility is a mere economic cycle that every economy has undergone. Regardless of the extent of its repercussions, the local economy can bail itself out, because of the consistent growth rate the economy has achieved that may have been brought about by sound macroeconomic fundamentals, which is furthered boosted by a trusted political leadership.

To our Chinese friends and comrades: “Kung Hei Fat Choy!”

(For comments email: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com with cc to: opinion@manilatimes.net).

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