Even on a Lazy Weekend

I guess it will be quite some time before finance people talk about something else.

The Wall Street mess has pretty much set off the alarm for markets to scramble for contingencies. This as the ordinary person is left to wait and see how its ripples will affect one who doesn’t bother with stocks and financial instruments more directly in danger of the scare from that part of North America.

That and more material on the topic coming in since the weekend has me dumping somewhat newer perspectives about it here.

  • Here’s a look at the credit culture and consumerism according to Ellen Tordesillas and Randy David. I’m not exactly clean credit-wise but I’m happy that I’m well in control. Consumerism has never been a problem with me though.
  • Here’s one of foreclosure’s many faces in the US. This one is set in Southern California. The inability of borrowers to pay off housing debt is one factor leading up to the downward spiral of the American economy.
  • Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is one of those big names in the queue of falling dominos this millenium has lined up so far. Here’s a Washingtonian Magazine article in 2002 pointing out the “potential risk to taxpayers” should it fall. The reference there was taken from this article which takes a look at the implications of the seemingly prescient read.
  • Finally here’s an interesting read which criticizes all the talks and write-ups on the current financial crisis in US paralleled with the Great Depression of 1929.

Yup. I still have a lot of time in my hands.

Impact on a Walled Street

One of the big things I never got to lay a finger on here during my long hiatus is the Wall Street crisis. By now, even those who aren’t into finance, economics or current events would’ve at least heard the ordeal over that side of North America. By now too, a lot of experts would’ve said their pieces on the unfurling of big names there.

So I guess what’s left for me to do is to leave some takes on the event much in the same vein as I used to back at highfiber.

For starters, here’s a rather simple explanation of the rudiments of what’s actually going on there. To those who got lost in the plethora of jargons spewed by analysts and experts on the matter, the article would be a good starting point. The author goes in depth and detail on the economic and financial fundamentals of the matter using as simple a language as is accomodating to the ordinary fellow. It traces key concepts stemming from the credit subprime of last year to that which rattled big names listed at Wall Street just recently.

For someone who digs the wider view, here’s Prof Bello’s take on the financial crisis. Aptly titled “A Primer on the Wall Street Meltdown,” he explains the latest unraveling of capitalism with the political and economic contexts placed in perspective. While some would directly limit the focus on the real estate woes the American economy experienced last year, he goes on to discuss the factors from last year leading to the most recent turmoil in Wall Street.

For the one sick of all the gravity mainstream media dons regarding the topic these days, here’s Craig Ferguson’s take for a good laugh. Thanks to leelock for the find btw.

Diminishing the Slice

The Philippines ranks second to the last after Indonesia in terms of the average annual salary of IT professionals. That is if the ZDNet Asia IT Salary Benchmark Survey 2008 is to be believed.

Early this month, ZDNet Asia released an online article summarizing the results of the survey. There the Philippines ranked 6th among 7 countries where it was reported that IT professionals averaged an annual salary of $12,425. Indonesia placed last with its pros getting $7,709 annually.

Get more information from the detailed report here. Registration is required though.

Which Yardstick?

I first encountered the Asian Development Bank study entitled “Philippines: Critical Development Constraints” over the weekend at Ellen Tordesilla’s blog entry, (thanks to leelock.) Despite the much hyped 7.3% growth in terms of GDP by the Arroyo administration, (which the report acknowledged,) the study notes that “both public and private investment remain sluggish and their share in gross domestic product has continued to decline.”

An article at Inquirer.net yesterday on the same report summarized the “‘constraints to private investment and growth’ in the Philippines” which included:

  • Tight fiscal situation due largely to weak revenue generation.
  • Inadequate infrastructure, particularly in electricity and transport.
  • Weak investor confidence due to governance concerns, particularly, corruption and political instability.
  • Inability to address market failures leading to a small and narrow industrial base.

The article is actually the second on the same report released last week. The other one focused on the exodus of skilled workers looking for greener pasteurs. The phenomenon raises doubts on the sustainability of the economic growth last year harped on by the current administration as the country is losing “not only human capital but it is also losing a lot.”

Curiously the timing of the statement of the US State Department as quoted by Philippine ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa couldn’t have been more perfect. According to the article mentioning the post on the Philippine embassy’s website:

Gaa thanked the State Department for expressing its continued confidence on the Philippine economy and democracy in its recently released US State Department 2009 Congressional Budget Justification Report.

So which is it really? Sans the numbers and technocratic jargons, my guess is that it’s the one a lot of us knew all along. The presence of the former just stresses the latter, (just as it should.)

A Mix on Structural Reform

An Oxford Analytica article came out last Tuesday on the progress on reform since the 1997-98 financial crisis. It contains an analysis of 4 southeast asian countries, (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand,) on the progress of economic stability and remaining structural vulnerabilities after the debacle that gripped the region.

So goes the significance of the article:

Over the past decade, real incomes have recovered, while exposure to external debt pressures has been reduced through an accumulation of foreign reserves and the adoption of more flexible exchange regimes. However, several issues remain causes for concern, including poor governance and mixed progress on banking reform.

Read more of the article here.

Blog of the Day: Money Smarts

5 years of fatherhood required me to take a look at the future from a whole lot of different perspectives. Apart from major decisions such as taking a look at the feasibility of acquiring assets for my family, (i.e. house and lot, family car, etc.,) the future pressures me with one thing I’ll have to eventually wrestle with: college education.

Right now I can say I’m pretty good at minimizing expenses. But what about actually coming up with that amount of money? That’s one room for improvement I’ve been starting to look at in the recent months.

Here’s Money Smarts by Salve Duplito. The blog dedicated to personal finance not only features finance articles by the author but other financial perspectives from other people knowledgeable in it. What oftentimes ensues in the comments trail is a healthy exchange, (or clash) of ideas.

Monetary Integration Poses Many Questions

An economics issue I’ve been seeing in the headlines of international business articles is the emergence of an integrated monetary currency for Asian nations much like the Euro. Here is a Financial Express editorial around last week which contrasts a lot of things such as political and economic considerations before the integration out west was achieved.