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PIA Press Release

Arroyo concerned over rising peso

Quezon City (5 October) -- PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is examining ways to help the country's export sector, which has been battered by the rising peso, her spokesman said Thursday.

Exporters warned the government on Wednesday that targeted revenues of $50 billion this year will not be met due to the peso's rapid appreciation.

"We share the concern of the export industry over the continued strength of the peso," Arroyo's spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, said in a statement. "But as a policy, we always leave it to market forces to determine the true value of our currency."

The chairman of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Sergio Ortiz-Luis, told the BusinessWorld newspaper that exporters had pegged their prices at P51 to P52 pesos to the dollar.

"With six months' worth of goods to deliver, they're already losing," he told the newspaper. “We were expecting to breach the $50 billion mark this year but it will not happen."

The peso breached the 50 to the dollar level for the first time in four years on Monday and has gained 6.15 percent since the start of the year.

The peso was at 50.01 to the dollar on Wednesday afternoon as investors took profits.

Much of the gain has been due to remittances from Filipino overseas workers and improvements in the government's finances.

Inflation eased to its lowest level in 27 months in September at 5.7 percent due mainly to a stronger peso and lower oil prices.

Bunye said Arroyo's economic advisers are considering "concrete measures to assist the export sector, balance out the situation and maintain a business environment that would spur more jobs and better infrastructure." He gave no other details. (PIA) [top]

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