Looking over my prognostications for the last half of 2008, I’m happy to note that I got no better than a 71% accuracy rate. Which is fine, as the things I missed out on were the dire ones, like oil hitting US $ 200 a barrel and OFW remittances dropping (it has held firm year on year and has even risen slightly).
Gloria is still around.
The peso continues to depreciate against the dollar, in spite of the spike in OFW remittances during the Christmas season, although the exchange rate breached the P50.00-US$1 line only for a short while, and immediately recovered.
The price of food and other basic commodities continue to increase, despite the drop in energy costs, a major input in production and transport. Oil has fallen to new price lows, but not before the oil companies, particularly the big three, Shell, Caltex and Petron, made a killing (and continue to do so). They are quick to raise prices but take their sweet time adjusting it downward when the market corrects. This mentality of greed affects all other sectors (like food producers and retailers) as well. Hopefully, prices will stabilize after the mad consumption of the holidays.
The crime rate continues to rise. As does the brutality level of the atrocities committed against persons and property, not only by criminals but by those expected to uphold the law and protect the populace. No need to expound on this, as anyone who reads the papers or listens to the news, even intermittently, knows it.
The only prediction I feel happy calling correctly is that Manny Pacquio would kick another opponent’s butt before the end of the year. And I thought it would be Edwin Valero or Ricky Hatton, but it turned out to be Oscar De La Hoya. Doubly pleased, as he bagged a biggie in the Golden Boy.
And now here is my fearless (not really, as some are obvious given the current environment) forecast for the first half of 2009:
1. The global financial crisis will hit hard in the first two quarters of 2009 – Everybody says so. The E.U. and the U.S. are in recession and China, India and Japan will hit the doldrums soon, if they haven’t already, leaving the rest of us in the economic dumps. Finance Secretary Margarito Teves explained “There’s a time lag in terms of the impact of a global economic slowdown. The time lag will affect Asia by next year more than this year“. Per Teves, when the crunch hits home, the effects could come in the form of a slowdown in business activity and slower export growth. Not to mention loss of jobs, inflation and other attendant ills of a contracting economy.
2. The crime rate will go up even further – Due to number one above.
3. OFW remittances will slow down – Like I said before, the host economies of Filipinos abroad are also facing hard times and employment opportunities will be affected. Lay-offs will be inevitable. But technically-proficient OFWs will continue to be in demand. It’s the non-skilled workers who will feel the brunt of the slowdown in hiring.
4. The peso will continue to depreciate against the dollar - The peso, which has fallen 13 percent against the dollar this year, will decline further in 2009 due to the impact a worsening global economic downturn will have on foreign investments, exports and overseas remittances. A no-brainer, as an anemic economy will naturally result in a weak peso. Not entirely a bad thing, as our exports will become more attractive to outside buyers. Also, the monetary value of OFW remittances will appreciate.
5. Scientology will debut in the Philippines.
6. The Philippine blogosphere will continue to be play a prominent role in unfolding events -No one can deny the growing popularity and influence of blogs as a source of information and opinion. The Philippine blogging community will continue to expand and will leave a larger (and hopefully positive) imprint in our political, social and professional lives. Why so ? Simply because no blogger is an island, and as a community, its natural impetus is to grow. And flex its muscles.
7. Pacquiao will kick Ricky Hatton’s ass and will then launch his own fight promotions company – The Pacquiao-Hatton fight promises to be another classic, this time between two evenly matched brawlers. Pacquiao will prevail and can seriously start considering retirement after another 1 to 2 farewell bouts. But not before setting up his own promotions enterprise. Manny’s no fool and has seen that the long-term money is in matchmaking. Why not take another page out Oscar De La Hoya’s playbook ? Why do you think he went to all the trouble and expense of bringing Mexican boxers David Diaz and Edwin Valero to Gen San for his birthday bash ? He needs marquee fighters on his side and is laying the foundation of an even bigger empire if he succeeds. Bob Arum must be worried to death that his main man is about to go his own way.
May we all have a serene and joyous New Year’s Eve and a bountiful 2009.