The Philippine Onion

Lies and half-truths shall set you free

Archive for November 30th, 2007

Why gasoline prices might suddenly dive

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by e-kunomista

It’s really fundamentally a supply and demand thing, with the former not rising as fast as the latter. The major sources of demand growth in the past few years have been China and India. The fast pace of growth in China and the even higher growth in energy consumption has in fact made it the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases this year, overtaking the United States.

(We are a bit intrigued by the allusion of the respected economist Ciel Habito to possible price manipulation in the local petroleum market in his latest column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was under his watch in the NEDA that the downstream oil industry was deregulated. Perhaps this is politically motivated).

But oil analysts agree that a big part of demand is speculative, coming from hedge funds trying to find shelter from the falling US$ by buying into commodity futures, minerals, agricultural staple, and oil. In the old days, speculation could be limited by physical storage capacity, but these days what’s influencing prices are futures contracts lodged in code in cyberspace. No need for Mr. and Mrs. Shady to hide oil barrels under the bed.

In normal markets, speculators play a positive role in stabilizing prices because they buy when prices are low and sell when high, thus narrowing the range and reducing volatility. Otherwise they’d lose their underpants if they do the reverse, right? But when a few hedge funds collude, they might be able to keep prices high with their self-fulfilling prophesy. But what feeds speculation are mainly geopolitical and weather-related events. Some researchers say that without the speculative element, prices should be within the $50-60/barrel range. (An earlier body of work of the Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz focused on price stabilization and speculation).

The silver lining is that persistently high prices of oil and coal fuels development of cleaner alternatives. But what if oil and coal prices are artificially high because of speculation? What will happen to the alternative energy developers who based their feasibility studies on wrong relative price projections?

Granting that a few players have cornered the futures market, they still take large risks, especially if a spate of good Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Posted in analysis, economics, foreign affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Gloria film gets ‘X’ for obscene nose

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

MTRCB censors gave an ‘X’ rating to “A Day in the Life of Gloria,” an animation film which shows President Arroyo’s nose growing after she says “I am sorry.” Artists cried ‘conspiracy’ Friday after the board also Xed another film, Mendiola. The two films were excluded from a short film festival called ‘Kontra-Agos’ because of the ratings.

ABS-CBN reported that MTRCB reviewer Mark Castrodes “dismissed the artists’ accusations as baseless conspiracy theories…the films were given an X-rating because they put government in a bad light. They should at least have covered her nose with a handkerchief, otherwise she would be seen as lying.

Read the full report here:Repression or paranoia? Filmmakers cry foul over short films’ ‘X’ rating.

Posted in briefly noted, entertainment, Malacañang, politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Curfew nets P1.5M in kotong

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by Mon Tofu

The curfew imposed from midnight to 5 a.m. in the wake of the ‘protest action’ by Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Gen . Danilo Lim yesterday, netted a total of P1.5 million in kotong (petty bribes) from Metro Manila residents who were mostly unaware of it, police sources said. In a press briefing last night, national police chief Avelino Razon said that those manning police checkpoints had been warned not to demand kotong. However, our sources said the collections were centralized at the various police stations in the interest of transparency and proper accounting.

Among those caught violating the emergency regulation, dubbed by human rights lawyers as unconstitutional, were balut vendors, striptease dancers, drunks, and vagrants.

Kotong is one of the major complaints of public utility drivers reeling from rising gasoline prices.

Posted in breaking news, briefly noted, police blather, politics, security | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why ‘Oplan Peninsula’ was doomed from the start

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by Old Spice

Faulty analysis and poor planning doomed the rebellion led by Senator Antonio Trillanes and Gen. Danilo Lim from the very beginning. Our conclusion is based on copies of documents recovered from the Manila Peninsula last night and accounts from our sources in Malacañang.

The first sign that something was awry was the absence of crowds when the two former military officers arrived at the hotel shortly before noon yesterday. Because of the drizzle, supporters of the duo stayed at home or in their offices, opting to give only ‘moral’ support. This in turn accounted for why the various commands which ‘were in on the plan’ stayed in barracks, as the support was conditional on the presence of massive civilan support.

But what really put the nail in the coffin of ‘Oplan Peninsula’ was something else. According to Cerge Remonde, who requested anonymity, there was a palpable sense of restlessness when the cabinet convened shortly after 1:30 p.m. Even with the government’s unquestioned superiority of force, Remonde said, some cabinet officials were simply tired of the never-ending calls for resignation and were prepared to ask the president to let go for the sake of the economy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in analysis, Malacañang, politics, security | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »