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Friday, 27 November 2015 00:00 Published in page one

Economy grows 6% in Q3 but 2015 target in peril

Friday, 27 November 2015 00:00 Published in Headlines

The government reported yesterday a six percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter which was lower than expected putting at risk the government’s revised minimum six percent expansion goal for the whole year.
The quarter figure was below the 6.3-percent median expectation of economists in a Bloomberg News poll, as a slowdown in manufacturing weighed on growth in services and public spending.
University of the Philippines economist and former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno said hitting the government target for 2015 has become unlikely.
“GDP growth averaged 5.6 percent in the first three quarters and assuming the economy can grow by 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter, an assumption that is possible but not likely, then the full-year GDP growth would still be 5.925%,” Diokno said.
“Given the economy’s performance in the first half of the year, I have forecasted that the economy would grow by 5.9 percent. With the GDP growth figure in the third quarter, my forecast is still doable though highly improbable,” Diokno added.
With the final quarter almost over, agriculture and exports are showing downward signs, retail sales are tepid, and government spending is still below program, he said.

Analysts also points to risks from a leadership change next year and the El Nino dry spell.
GDP growth in the July to September period, however, was faster than the 5.8 growth in the previous quarter.
“Clearly, the outcome of the national election will have an impact on the economy,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
“We are hoping that whoever will get elected will speed up and sustain the reforms so we can raise the potential of the economy,” he said.
President Aquino will end his single six-year term in June next year.
His preferred successor, former interior minister Manuel Roxas, has languished in opinion polls.
The economy could grow as much as 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter, bringing the full-year average to at least 6.0 percent due to a boost in consumption during Christmas, Balisacan said.
The Philippines has the potential to grow by as much as 8.0 percent next year, he said, but Aquino’s successor needs to address festering problems such as the country’s decaying infrastructure.
The El Nino dry spell, projected to peak in December and January, has begun to hurt agriculture which was down 1.1 percent quarter-on-quarter, data showed.
Balisacan said this was due to inadequate irrigation of farmlands and that government was addressing the problem.
The services sector was the main growth driver in the third quarter, growing 7.3 percent, the highest in two years, from 5.6 percent last year.
Year-on-year, industry growth slowed to 5.4 percent from 7.8 percent, while agriculture declined 0.4 percent from a 2.6-percent contraction.
Analysts said strong private consumption and government spending would drive future growth, but would be tempered by weak exports.
“In our view, the key risks to growth continue to stem from weaker external demand and adverse weather conditions, though inflation has remained manageable,” Barclays analyst Rahul Bajoria said.
Credit Suisse analyst Michael Wan said the Philippines had fiscal and monetary policy space to respond to a potential regional growth slowdown given its lesser exposure to China compared to its neighbors.
Wan hailed the country for strong overall performance, including a boost in consumption and a pick up in spending.
“The Philippines remains one of the best macro stories in the region,” Wan said.

Palace hails growth
Malacañang focus on the growth figure being among the fastest in the region despite the economic growth target being in danger of being missed.
“Based on initial reports, the Philippines’ economic growth is the third fastest in Asia after China at 6.9 percent and Vietnam at 6.8 percent,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
“We affirm NEDA’s view that the country will attain its full-year GDP growth of 6.0 percent due to better economic prospects in the last quarter of the year,” he added.
The Palace official noted that the third quarter GDP growth was spurred by improved government spending, which grew significantly from 3.9 percent last quarter to 17.4 percent.
“This is in line with President Aquino’s directives to the Executive Branch to improve effectiveness in budget execution through the vigorous implementation of priority development programs,” Coloma said.
The NEDA report was also welcomed by Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
Led by increased government consumption on the demand side, the 6 percent figure is higher than the growth rates posted during the previous two quarters—5.0 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively, as well as the 5.5 percent GDP recorded in the third quarter of 2014, he said.
The NEDA report notes that growth on the supply side was led by the services sector, which accelerated to 7.3 percent, he added.
“Within Asia, the Philippines continues to be a bright spot as the third fastest growing major emerging economy, after China and Vietnam,” Lacierda said in a statement.
Expansion of the Philippine economy continue to be robust as proven by its six percent output in the third quarter of the year, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said Thursday.

New technology enhances fitness regimes

Friday, 27 November 2015 00:00 Published in Life Style

Sony has launched the new Smart B-Trainer, an all-in-one training device and application that literally motivates your exercise regime with its range of features, such as intelligent music playback based on heart rate monitoring, as well as various training plans.
Developed with the modern runner in mind, the Smart B-Trainer comes in a neckband-style housing and is non-slip to provide you the freedom to run as you like. This sports companion integrates Sony’s latest audio advancements with the latest sensor and software technologies to provide a holistic exercise experience. It consists of the SSE-BTR1 headphone-integrated device that is packed with six types of sensors — heart rate, acceleration, GPS, compass, gyro and barometer; and measures and records 11 types of running logs — heart rate, burned calories, distance, time, speed, pace, cadence, steps, stride, running route and elevation.
Based on a preset user profile and heart rate goal, the Smart B-Trainer measures your heart rate and automatically selects music for efficient training. Music tempo analysis is carried out by Sony’s 12 Tone Analysis technology, which extracts a variety of metadata through signal and statistical processing to analyze music waveforms. When your heart rate is higher than your targeted speed, a song with slower tempo will be automatically selected to guide you to slow down, and vice versa when your heart rate is lower than the targeted speed. Additionally, you can also adjust the tempo of the song to match your mood at the time of running.
Smart B-Trainer for Running is an app that enables you to manage running logs on your smartphone by looking back at graphs of past track records to give you a clearer picture of your training progress. After you finish a workout, you can transfer the running log to the app to view the results and easily look back on your track record through graphs and comparisons with past accumulated records, best records, and trends. With more detailed awareness of training progress, “settings goals for a sense of accomplishment” leads to more effective, sustainable training. It also provides a versatile selection of training plans, so you can choose one that fits your goals — be it to get in shape, build strength, or even to prepare for a marathon. After making your selection, send the plan to the Smart B-Trainer via Bluetooth to begin training immediately.
The Basic Training Plan offers a range of options, enabling you to manually set running goals for the day (time, distance, burned calories, pace, etc.), or select from theme-based trainings, such as “Fat burning training” or “to Endurance training.”
After completing your workout, transfer your running log to the Smart B-Trainer for Running app to view results. Easily compare your current session with past records through graphs and comparisons, assess your progress and aim higher.
The built-in memory of 16GB stores up to approximately 3,900 songs, so you won’t have to worry about running out of songs to listen to while exercising. The Smart B-Trainer™ has waterproof performance equivalent to IPX5/IPX8, so you can run without the worry of sudden rain showers. Additionally, it can be used as a Bluetooth headset to answer calls hands-free.
Take your fitness and training experience to a whole new level and get the new Smart B-Trainer now. This product is available in select Sony Centers and authorized dealers, priced at P12,999.

For more information on the Smart B-Trainer, log on to or follow them on Facebook (Sony Philippines), Instagram and Twitter (SonyPHinc).


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