Finance Secretary Diokno Confident in Achieving 2023 Economic Growth Target

Makati City – Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno expressed optimism about the Philippine economy’s growth trajectory, confident in meeting the economic growth target set for 2023. He shared these views during the Pilipinas Conference 2023 at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City.

According to Philippines News Agency, Diokno highlighted that the Philippine economy achieved the strongest third-quarter growth of 5.9 percent in the region, leading to a gross domestic product (GDP) expansion of 5.5 percent for the first three quarters of 2023. This growth outpaced that of several regional counterparts including China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. Diokno stated that despite external risks and domestic challenges, the Philippines is one of the brightest spots in the region. He is confident that the country will attain its growth target of 6 to 7 percent for the year and accelerate further in the coming years. The Finance chief also mentioned the government’s commitment to macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability through the implementation of the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF). Key reforms identified under the MTFF by the Department of Finance include the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Bill, Passive Income and Financial Intermediaries Taxation Bill, and VAT on digital services. The department is also advocating for the taxation of sweetened beverages, junk food, single-use plastics, motor vehicle road users, and a rationalized mining fiscal regime. These measures aim to enhance tax administration, fairness, efficiency, and promote environmental sustainability.

Philippine Hotel Industry to Welcome 48 New Hotels by 2028

Quezon City – The Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA) has announced the upcoming construction of 48 new hotels across the Philippines, scheduled between 2023 and 2028. The expansion, representing at least 15,000 new rooms, signifies strong investor confidence in the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

According to Philippines News Agency, the robust investment landscape reflects a bright future for Philippine tourism. The projects are not limited to major gateways like Manila and Cebu but extend to other cities. Bengzon highlighted the growing demand in emerging destinations, with notable expansions planned by Park Inn by Radisson and Filinvest Hospitality in various cities. The hotel industry has reportedly enjoyed higher room occupancy in 2023 compared to the previous year, driven by domestic demand and the return of key international markets like South Korea and China. Bengzon emphasized the importance of air connectivity for the sector’s growth, noting that increased flights are crucial for attracting international tourists. The sector’s recovery efforts include upgrading facilities, incorporating data analytics for personalized guest experiences, and adopting technology for contactless services. The executive also noted the shift in consumer preferences towards organic food and beverages and a greater appreciation of local culture and history.

SK On and BASF Join Forces to Explore Lithium-Ion Battery Business

SEOUL – SK On Co., a South Korean battery manufacturer, announced on Wednesday a partnership with Germany’s BASF SE. This collaboration aims to explore opportunities in the global lithium-ion battery market.

According to Yonhap News Agency, SK On and BASF will work together in cathode active materials (CAM) production, focusing on North American and Asia-Pacific markets. Additionally, the partnership will extend to battery recycling efforts. CAM, a high-quality nickel cobalt manganese used in rechargeable batteries, is designed to enhance performance and extend the driving range of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to current offerings.

Jee Dong-seob, President and Chief Executive of SK On, emphasized the collaboration as a strategic move to strengthen the battery materials supply chain and lead the global EV battery market. Peter Schuhmacher, President of BASF’s catalysts division, expressed his company’s ambition to bolster its market position to cater to battery manufacturers and EV producers worldwide through this partnership.

SK On, part of Korea’s SK Group, operates numerous plants globally, including in Hungary, the United States, and China. The company plans further expansion with new plants in Hungary and China by 2024, and additional facilities in the U.S. post-2025 in collaboration with partners.

Mixed Results in KOSPI 200 Stock Closings

SEOUL — The closing stock prices of companies listed on the KOSPI 200 index showed mixed results in the latest trading session. KOLON IND ended the day at 42,650 won, up by 1,150 won, while HanmiPharm’s stock increased significantly, closing at 303,000 won, up by 9,500 won. SD Biosensor and Meritz Financial also experienced gains, closing higher than their previous values.

According to Yonhap News Agency, BNK Financial Group and DGB Financial Group both saw declines in their stock values, closing at 7,090 won and 8,270 won, down by 20 won respectively. Emart’s stock value increased slightly, closing at 76,700 won, up by 200 won. HANKOOK TIRE and TECHNOLOGY and KOLMAR KOREA experienced declines in their stock values.

Other notable movements in the stock market included increases for PIAM, HANJINKAL, DoubleUGames, and HL MANDO. SAMSUNG BIOLOGICS’ stock value surged, closing at 732,000 won, up by 12,000 won. GS and LIG Nex1 also saw changes in their stock values, with GS experiencing an increase and LIG Nex1 a decrease.

The stock values of HYUNDAIGLOVIS, HANAFINANCIALGR, and AMOREPACIFIC closed higher, while HANWHA LIFE and DB INSURANCE saw decreases. SLCORP and Yuhan experienced increases in their stock values, and SamsungElec’s stock also saw a rise, closing at 72,200 won, up by 1,400 won.

Varied Performance in KOSPI 200 Closing Prices

SEOUL — The South Korean stock market witnessed diverse trends in the closing prices of KOSPI 200 listed companies.

According to Yonhap News Agency, several firms experienced notable shifts in their stock values. Youngpoong saw a significant increase, closing at 509,000 won, up by 12,500 won. Hanwha also recorded a rise, finishing at 24,500 won, up by 150 won. DB HiTek remained steady at 54,600 won. CJ, however, experienced a decline, closing down at 87,500 won, a drop of 1,300 won. SK hynix’s stock value increased by 4,100 won, closing at 134,100 won.

Other notable movements included LX INT, up by 400 won at 29,950 won, and TaihanElecWire, which saw an increase of 190 won to close at 12,040 won. Hyundai MandF INS experienced a slight decrease, closing at 29,700 won, down by 50 won. HYBE’s stock increased significantly, closing at 211,000 won, up by 6,500 won. SK ie technology and DL EandC also saw increases in their closing prices.

In contrast, Daesang’s stock value decreased, closing down 500 won at 20,150 won. SKNetworks, ORION Holdings, and AmoreG experienced increases in their stock values. HyundaiMtr’s stocks saw a substantial rise, closing at 182,500 won, up by 7,300 won. Daewoong and TaekwangInd also reported gains in their closing stock prices.

KOSPI 200 Records Mixed Movements in Closing Prices

SEOUL — The Korea Exchange’s KOSPI 200 index displayed a range of movements in its latest closing price list.

According to Yonhap News Agency, several major companies experienced notable changes in their stock prices. KEPCO saw an increase of 80 points, closing at 17,480, while Samsung Securities surged by 650 points to 39,200. KG DONGBU Steel also witnessed growth, up 120 points to 8,150. SK Telecom’s stock remained unchanged at 51,300. Hyundai Elevator’s shares rose by 750 points to 48,650, and SAMSUNG SDS significantly increased by 6,200 points to 149,800. KOREA AEROSPACE and KUMHOTIRE also saw their stock prices rise, by 350 and 110 points respectively. Other notable increases were observed in Handsome, LOTTE ENERGY MATERIALS, Asiana Airlines, COWAY, NCsoft, HANATOUR SERVICE, KIWOOM, Hanwha Ocean, HD Hyundai Infracore, DWEC, LG HandH, LGCHEM, KEPCO EandC, ShinhanGroup, HYUNDAIHOMESHOP, HYUNDAI ROTEM, LGELECTRONICS, Celltrion, TKG Huchems, JB Financial Group, DAEWOONG PHARM, HYUNDAIDEPTST, KIH, CSWIND, and GKL. Conversely, COSMAX and POSCO INTERNATIONAL saw declines in their stock prices, down 900 and 200 points respectively. Youngone Corp also experienced a decrease, dropping 3,400 points.