Just after midnight one sultry Friday in August 1987, Manila became a battleground as rebel troops attempted a coup against Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Two blocks from the besieged presidential palace, insurgents opened fire on a car carrying Aquino’s only son, a bespectacled and soft-spoken 27-year-old junior insurance executive nicknamed Noynoy.
If a silver lining can be found in the disaster visited upon the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, it’s that the economy was less vulnerable than the nation’s storm defenses. Faced with the grim and expensive task of recovery, the government can at least take advantage of the credibility and cleaned-up balance sheet it earned during the first half of Benigno Aquino’s presidency. A lower-than- projected budget deficit -- less than 2 percent of gross domestic product -- provides a welcome fiscal cushion to help pay for reconstruction.
The Philippine economy grew at the slowest pace in more than a year last quarter, with damage from Super Typhoon Haiyan further crimping the outlook for full-year expansion before a reconstruction boost.
After Lyn Lyn Rael’s three-room house was swept away by Super Typhoon Haiyan, leaving her husband and five children homeless, she borrowed 25,000 pesos ($570), the equivalent of two months’ wages, from her employer in Singapore to send to her family.
The Philippine peso fell for a fourth day, touching the lowest level in more than two months on speculation the U.S. will scale back stimulus that’s boosted emerging markets. Government bonds weakened.