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SEC hopes to transfer to PICC before June

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is hoping that its delayed planned transfer to a temporary location will finally take place within the first half of this 2016, a development that, according to an SEC high-ranking official, will help the agency serve the public better. The transfer to a temporary office within the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) complex was targeted to happen before the end of 2015. Since this target was not met, SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa said the intention of the agency is to move to its new headquarters before June of this year. “We’ve already concretize the move to transfer office at the PICC. We’ve already signed the contract and the site will already be under the consultant for the layout to make our transfer smooth,” Herbosa said in an …

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AES to complete battery energy storage mid-2016

The battery-based energy storage of American firm AES Corporation at its Masinloc coal plant site in Zambales is up for completion middle of next year. That will then add 10 megawatts of interconnected capacity to its facility that will expectedly “enhance the reliability of the Luzon grid.” As set on blueprint, the proposed Masinloc Array will be equipped with the Advancion energy storage solution of the US firm. This is a pioneering effort when it comes to commercial-scale deployment of battery energy storage in the Philippines, thus, all eyes are on the outcome of such technology experiment. The battery installation broke ground mid-December at the 600-MW Masinloc plant site – graced by AES Asia strategic business unit president Marty Crotty along with energy officials and executives and officials from the host local government unit. Following …

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SME Nation unveils Smart BizKit

Smart SME Nation has launched the Smart BizKit, a bundled wireless solution that provides small businesses with connectivity and mobility for seamless connections with colleagues, peers, and customers. Smart BizKit is a communications solution that combines reliable data, voice and SMS with quality devices without small businesses having to worry about spending a huge chunk of their resources.  Communicating freely and openly with customers and colleagues is now made seamless with more data, and unlimited calls and texts to Smart, Sun, and Talk ‘N Text. These digital resources can be expanded with additional devices such as a laptop or an iPad Mini for optimal productivity and performance. “Because of the growth of the digital customer base, startups and small businesses have a great potential to flourish, even without the existence …

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Coconut oil prices rising

London (Reuters) — Coconut oil prices were rising, bucking an overall weaker trend on the European vegetable oils market, boosted by concerns about possible damage to production in the Philippines from a recent typhoon. Philippine/Indonesian coconut oil asking prices were $15.00 to $17.50 a tonne higher. Palm oil asking prices were lower weighed by weak demand and falling crude mineral oil prices. Both Brent and US crude futures fell as much as 4 percent on Monday to the lowest levels since the start of 2008 before rebounding strongly later in the day. Liquid oils – rapeoil, soyoil and sunoil – were also lower.  

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Malampaya natural gas field to remain highly productive

    MANILA, Jan. 2 (PNA) -- The Malampaya offshore natural gas field in northwest Palawan will remain highly productive for several more years but this early a senior member of the House of Representatives wants concerned agencies to plan ahead and identify possible uses for the two massive oil rigs in the West Philippine Sea once supply runs out. “The Malampaya gas wells are bound to dry up, be plugged and abandoned, along with the platforms,” said LPG-MA Party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, a senior member of the House committee on energy. Once vacated, he said, the rigs could be converted by the Philippine Navy into an outpost. Ty, a deputy minority leader, has been urging government to invest in modern warships to secure the West Philippine Sea’s oil and gas deposits, amid the country’s …

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Analysts forecast oil prices rising in 2016 while traders bet on fall

Singapore (Reuters) — A year ago, after oil prices had halved in six months, analysts were forecasting a price recovery in 2015 while many traders were busy shorting the market. As it turned out, the traders were correct and oil prices fell by another third this year. Analysts have now forecast a pick-up in prices over 2016, while traders built short positions on US oil futures to a record in early December. The difference in the two views is on what happens in response to an oil output surplus that has been estimated as high as 2 million barrels per day (bpd) by some analysts. Many analysts expect a price recovery towards the end of 2016 to pull up the average for the full year, with production – especially in the United States …

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InterContinental Manila closes its doors after 46 years

InterContinental Manila, one of the first 5-star hotels in the Philippines, has closed its doors after 46 years, as the hotel's contract has ended with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) December 31, 2015. Ayala Land Incorporated (ALI), the hotel's previous management, has announced last October 9, 2015 that a new commercial and mixed-use development area will be built in place of the 332-room hotel at the Ayala Avenue, Ayala Center in the Makati Central Business District. The redevelopment will transform the Ayala Center into a modern gateway, with a first-of-its-kind inter-modal transport facility. “This is the next phase of our Makati revitalization plan which also consists of the redevelopment of the McKinley Exchange, Ayala Triangle, City Gate and Circuit Makati,” Manny Blas, Ayala Land Vice President and Head of Operations for Makati, said in a …

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Local banks remain in strong position as BSP alters monetary setting framework

The Philippine economy and the mirror of its stability – the capital markets – continue to be able to steer clear – but not totally unscathed – of global disturbances during the past year and it looked like domestic banking strength will continue in 2016. The monetary authorities in the last 12 months were anchoring its monetary policy framework on the strong macro-economy, spot on inflation targetting and on financial stability. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said this discipline enabled them to craft policies – market and banking -- to maintain stable prices, which he said has continued to build market confidence. The most significant policy change in 2015, although to be implemented in the middle part of this year, is the adoption of the interest rate corridor system …

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DA seeks new WB funding for rural dev’t project

Because of the success in the implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) and to avoid its postponement, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will ask additional funding for the World Bank-backed project for its continuous roll-out. Now on its third year, the P27.3-billion PRDP is a six-year national project until 2018 that is being implemented through the partnership of the DA, World Bank and local government units (LGUs). “For the PRDP, we are going to ask more funds. Supposedly, the fund should cover six years but because the implementation was very good as well as the acceptance of LGUs, everyone is realizing that the project is really of a big help,” DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said in an interview with reporters. “So we might spend all the funds as early as next …

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Global markets end 2015 with a whimper

London — World stock markets on Thursday ended 2015 with a whimper after sharp volatility sparked by China’s slowdown, eurozone stimulus, the Greek crisis, rising US rates and a commodities rout. ‘’After a year that began so promisingly the markets are wrapping up 2015 in the limpest way possible, a collective sigh instead of any attempt at New Year’s Eve fireworks,’’ said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 racked up their worst annual performance in seven years after a selloff in the final Wall Street session of 2015 Thursday. The S&P 500 fell 0.9 percent to 2,043.94, leaving the broad-based gauge of US stocks down 0.7 percent for the year, its first loss since 2011. The blue-chip Dow dropped 1.0 percent in the session to 17,425.03, to …

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