Monday, November 28, 2016

OFWs reaping benefits of weak peso

The peso's losing streak against the dollar has made many OFWs eager to send remittances to the Philippines to take advantage of the current exchange rate.
In Hong Kong, some OFWs wished the current exchange rate —  P49.980:$1 as of November 25 — would extend until the new year to maintain the high value of their remittances.
"Masaya po kaming mga OFWs na maganda ang rate ngayon," one OFW said in Maki Pulido's report on "24 Oras" on Friday. "Sana tataas pa until next year."
For his part, Abner Gagal Gacias, 23, a cashier-waiter in Saudi Arabia, told GMA News Online, "As an OFW, [with] every cent increase, I’m happy because it will increase the total amount received by my family [in the Philippines]."
"May additional feeling na masaya kasi alam mo mataas din value ng sweldo mo abroad pag mataas palitan," said Grace Guei, 49, a medical secretary in the United Arab Emirates.
The OFWs, however, are aware that this good news does not extend to Filipino consumers, who may have to shell out more for their needs.
"Malungkot na malaki ang palitan in a way. Mas maraming maghihirap sa 'Pinas kasi ibig sabihin niyan tataas ang presyo ng bilihin,” said Melanie Tiu, 57, a senior respiratory therapist in the UAE.
Ateneo de Manila professor Alvin Tan said the dollar strengthened due to American businesses slowly returning the US in line with President-elect Donald Trump's "America-first" policy.
"Nagkaroon siya (Trump) ng statement na America First Policy. So sabi niya, he will invite back US companies, give them subsidies and support," Tan said.
Employers' Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) President Donald Dee, meanwhile, warned of possible inflation if the value of peso against the dollar hit the P55:$1 mark, although he said this is unlikely.
Yet others share the fears of economists and business owners like Ateneo de Manila professor Alvin Tan and Employers' Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) President Donald Dee.
"Yung impact sa kanila yung devaluation, and therefore they have to increase the price because the peso cost is higher," Dee said.
Dee, however, said the peso is unlikely to hit that level.
"[But] the demand for exiting of dollar due to hot money has already happened. The fear that interest rates will go up in America has happened. Yung fear nila nag fold-in na, lumabas na yung pera," he said.
Despite the possible downturns, Tan said the $85 billion reserves of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will be enough to weather the upset.
"Yung reserves ng central bank ng buong Pilipinas is about 85 billion dollars. Hindi naman 'yun basta-bastang mauubos lahat sa supply," Tan said.
Still, some OFWs can't help but take advantage of the current exchange rate.
"[Ngayong mataas ang exchange rate], kailangan malaki na ipadala kasi sayang... Baka malay natin, bumaba ulit," Gacias said. Rie Takumi and Lucky Mae F. Quilao/KBK, GMA News

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