Yuan rises 0.5 percent after US drops currency manipulation charges

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   997

Chinese 100 yuan or renminbi (RMB) notes and coins in Beijing, China, 5 August 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Beijing – The renminbi (the official name of the Chinese currency, commonly known as ‘yuan’) rose by 6.8954 units per dollar or 0.45 percent – its highest level since August – hours after the United States government decided to drop China from its currency manipulator list.

The daily trading rate set by the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, was 0.0309 yuan higher on Tuesday, compared to the previous day.

The PBOC does not allow the yuan to fluctuate by more than two percent from the reference rate marked each day.

Washington included Beijing in its “currency manipulators” list on Aug. 5 after the yuan dropped below the psychological barrier of 7 units per dollar for the first time in more than a decade.

The significant drop in the yuan was seen as a response to new tariffs on Chinese products announced by Washington four days earlier.

However, the US Department of the Treasury on Monday announced the withdrawal of China from the list as a gesture of goodwill before the signing of the “first phase” of an agreement to resolve the bilateral trade war in the US capital later this week.

“China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability,” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

However, the US has not completely written off its suspicions over China and moved China to the so-called “Monitoring List,” in which it classifies those trade partners that merit “close attention” because of their monetary policies.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua acknowledged that the strengthening of the yuan against the dollar came just after the gesture made by the US.

The agency quoted an analyst who attributed the appreciation in the national currency to the improvement in the country’s economic inertia and the counter-cyclical adjustments carried out by the government.

After 22 months of trade war and the ensuing exchange of tariffs, Trump announced mid-December that the first phase of a pact with China had been finalized.

According to the agreement, the US will keep its 25-percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, along with reduced charges of 7.5 percent on additional imports worth $120 billion.

Ever since the announcement of a possible agreement in October, negotiations between the Asian and American superpowers have seen several upheavals, including the spread of contradictory information and mutually-lobbed veiled criticism.

Trade tensions between the two world economies – which began in March 2018 – go beyond bilateral relations and have had global consequences.

The International Monetary Fund, in its latest forecasts in October, downgraded global growth projections for the year to 3 percent, 0.2 percent less than that in July, weighed down by doubts about a possible resolution of the trade dispute. EFE-EPA

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Duterte to listen to public’s sentiment on VFA issue

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is open to listening to the public about their sentiments on the issue regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said those who wish to voice out their opinions on whether the VFA should be abolished or not can send messages through the government hotline 8888.

Kung nais ninyong marinig ang inyong boses tungkol dito, huwag po kayong mag-atubili, kayo po ay magpadala ng e-mail o mensahe o kung anuman doon sa mga linya ng ating mga ahensiya sa gobyerno para makarating po kay Presidente (If you want your voices to be heard, do not hesitate and send an email or message through government agency hotlines for it to reach the President), he said.

Duterte, during his public address on Wednesday (February 24), said he is still undecided on what to do. He previously demanded the US to pay if it wants the VFA to continue.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the military will support the decision of the President but also said the Philippines should be able to defend itself without any assistance. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH urges Filipinos in the US to exercise ‘utmost caution’ amid rise in anti-Asian attacks

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Embassy in Washington has cautioned Filipinos in the United States (US) to stay safe and vigilant amid rising incidents of anti-Asian attacks in various parts of the US. 

The Embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also called on the local authorities in the US to further ensure the protection of Asian Americans, including Filipinos.

“The Philippine Embassy and Consulates General in the United States appreciate the swift action taken by a number of local authorities to apprehend perpetrators of these attacks. However, we call on federal, state, and local authorities to further ensure the protection of persons of Asian descent, including Filipinos,” the DFA said.

Among the reports concerning violence against those of Asian descent include the case of Filipino-American Noel Quintana who was slashed in the face by a fellow subway passenger early February this year.

Filipinos in the US have been advised to immediately call 911 if they experience an attack. AAC

600,000 doses of China’s CoronaVac to arrive in PH on Feb. 28 — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A Palace official confirmed that the initial shipment of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is set to arrive in the Philippines soon.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a total of 600,000 doses of CoronaVac from China’s pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech will be arriving on Sunday (February 28).

The official thanked China for its donations which will be used in the initial vaccine rollout of the government. 

Concerned officials from the national government will be welcoming the arrival of the vaccines in person on Sunday.

“Inaasahan na darating ang araw ng linggo, itong araw ng linggo pong ito ang Sinovac kaya po excited na tayong lahat,” Roque said.

“Inaasahan po at at least pinaplano natin na sasalubunin po ng mga opisyal ang pagdating ng mga bakuna,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said the vaccines serve as ‘testament’ to the two countries’ diplomatic relationship.

“It is a fine tradition between China and the Philippines to help each other in trying times. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The donation of vaccines is another testament to the solidarity as well as profound friendship and partnership between our two peoples and two countries,” he said.

With the arrival of CoronaVac supplies, the government is expected to begin the roll out of COVID-19 immunization on Monday (March 1) with medical frontliners as the among the initial priorities despite advised from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the vaccine is not advisable for individuals with high exposure to COVID-19 positive cases.

First in the line to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot will be the spokesperson of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and COVID-19 survivor, Dr. Jonas del Rosario.

“What we need is one day and we will roll out. So if it arrives on Sunday, if I’m not mistaken, we can rollout on Monday dahil excited na excited na po ang maraming kababayan natin,” Roque said.

The Palace official stressed, meanwhile, that the public should look into the positive side of vaccination regardless of which brand as long as it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as it can help address the current problems in relation to the pandemic.

But according to Dr. Garardo Legaspi, Director of UP-PGH, the initial survey among their staff revealed that about 90% of the hospital’s healthcare workers pre-registered and agreed to get a vaccine shot.

Although the survey, however, offered them Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and not the Chinese brand.

“Hindi ko masasabi kung ilan ang darating talaga. We are trying to manage the understanding of the EUA given to Sinovac kaya po siguro over the next few days, kailangan naming i-thresh out ang ibig sabihin ng fda na mas magiging very useful for our health workers to make their decision,” Legaspi explained.

The other survey, meanwhile, revealed that 75% of the staff agreed to be vaccinated regardless of brand.

“Hindi naman porket nabakunahan ng this particular vaccine na Sinovac ay walang proteksyon. Ang ibig lang sabihin, ang proteksyon niya ay hindi as high to prevent mild symptoms from occurring, which probably magiging dahilan ito para hindi makapasok ang healthcare workers sa ospital,” Legaspi noted.

“Siguro iyon ang basis ng FDA para sabihin na hindi siya ideal para sa healthcare workers dahil kahit mild symptom, hindi sila papasok pag nagkaroon sila ng mild symptom at mababawasan ang manpower sa ating ospital,” he added.

Legaspi further said that so far, all the vaccines which the FDA has granted approval — Sinovac, Pfizer and Astrazeneca— promise 100 percent protection against severe conditions related to COVID-19. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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