Economic Crisis and Response in the Philippines

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Economic Crisis and Response in the Philippines
The Global Economic Crisis pulled countries down from around the globe to a recession. Wide-ranging declines in many aspects of growth characterize the overall impact it had had on the global scale. Following the Asian economic crisis in 1997, the present global economic crisis imposes new challenges to the Philippines as a developing country. Following are expositions of the macroeconomic impacts of the crisis in the Philippine setting, its implications in the prevalent poverty scenario, and policies and programs undertaken by the government in response to the crisis. Overview of the Global Economic Crisis

The 2008 global economic crisis started upon the bursting of the US housing bubble, which was followed by bankruptcies, bailouts, foreclosures, and takeovers of financial institutions and national governments. During a period of housing and credit booms, banks encouraged lending to home owners by a considerably high amount without appropriate level of transparency and financial supervision. As interest rates rose in mid-2007, housing prices dropped extensively, and all institutions that borrowed and invested found themselves suffering significant losses. Financial institutions, insurance companies, and investment houses declared either declared bankruptcies or had to be rescued financially. Economies worldwide slowed during this period and entered to a recession. The crisis, initially financial in nature, has now taken a full-blown economic and global scale affecting every country to the left and to the right of the United States, and wreaking havoc in the level of both industrialized and developing nations. The Philippine Situation before the Crisis

The Philippines has long been undermined with long-term structural problems such that sustainable economic development is yet to be a dream come true. According to the pages of Philippine economic history, the country has been dominated by a sequence of growth spurts, brief and mediocre, followed by shard to very-sharp, severe, and extended downturns—a cycle that came to be known as the boom-bust cycle. As such, economic growth record of the country has been disappointing in comparison with its East Asian counterparts in terms of per capita GDP. What makes matters worse is the seemingly perennial impoverished state of its inhabitants, that is, in 2007, an absolute poverty incidence of 13.2 percent—higher than Indonesia’s 7.7 and Vietnam’s 8.4 percent—has been recorded, and thus giving further testimony of the unequal distribution of wealth that keeps growth and development a far reach for the Philippines. Macroeconomic Impacts of the Crisis

The Philippines, points Professor Diokno of the University of the Philippines, has been affected by the crisis in a decline in three aspects: exports, remittances from overseas Filipino workers, and foreign direct investments. Heavily dependent on electronic and semiconductor exports, the Philippines has seen a downward trend in its export earnings as countries in demand of these exports are now in recession. The recession has also put to risk the jobs in the developed countries which include those where migrant workers are employed. Consequently, OFW remittances decreased and grew a meagre 3.3% in October 2008. Foreign direct investments (FDI) lowered because of investors losing confidence in the financial market. Lower FDIs mean slower economic growth. Impacts of Asset Markets, Financial Sector, and Real Sector

The freeze in liquidity in US and European financial markets reversed capital flows to developing countries and induced a rise in the price of risk which entailed a drop in equity prices andexchange rate volatility. However, following the effects of an increase in the foreign currency government bond spread, the Philippine stock market was actually one of the least affected by the crisis with the main index of the stock market dropping only by 24 percent, a relatively low...
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