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2018 Yearender: Business - The year of TRAIN and inflation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 25 2018 03:25 PM | Updated as of Dec 26 2018 01:41 PM

Filipinos computed the net effect of lower income taxes and higher consumer prices on their paychecks this year. Borrowing costs also rose, making missing that credit card payment more expensive.

Elsewhere, Jollibee set out to conquer the world while Sweden's IKEA is building its world's largest store in the Philippines.

China also made its presence felt in infrastructure and telecoms, partnering with young tycoon Dennis Uy to challenge PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom.

Here are some of the biggest stories in business in 2018.

LANDMARK TAX REFORM

The middle class saw their take-home pay increase with income taxes lowered at the start of the year. But this came at the cost of higher duties on fuel, sugar-sweetened drinks and cars.

For a time, economic managers recommended the suspension of a second round of fuel excise tax increases, which will likely push through after Dubai crude fell below the $80 per barrel threshold.

Photo by Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

PRICES SHOOT UP

Higher fuel prices in the world market and a wave of typhoons that devastated crops kept inflation at elevated levels this year, prompting the government to implement price-taming measures.

Inflation will likely taper off towards the end of the year, according to economic managers and return to the Bangko Sentral's target range by 2019.

Photo by Jonathan cellona, ABS-CBN News

GLOBE, PLDT CHALLENGED

Chinese-Filipino consortium Mislatel was named the Philippines' third telco, challenging the dominance of PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom.

The joint venture between young tycoon Dennis Uy and China Telecom promised internet speeds that rival Singapore. However, the China connection also raised concerns on cybersecurity.

Photo by Jonathan cellona, ABS-CBN News

WATCH YOUR DEBT

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas embarked on one of the fastest policy tightening streaks as inflation stayed at near 10-year highs.

The Monetary Board raised the overnight borrowing rate by a cumulative 1.75 percentage points this year, bringing the benchmark to 4.75 percent from 3 percent at the start of 2018.

Photo by Jonathan cellona, ABS-CBN News

BUILD BUILD BUILD

The Mega Manila Subway will break ground before the year closes, with the government's P8 trillion infrastructure program getting underway. Big business also offered to build a monorail to Fort Bonifacio and a Makati Subway system.

A 'Super Consortium' of the country's biggest conglomerates bid to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, with rival bids from GMR-Megawide and a consortium that includes billionaire Henry Sy.

Photo by George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

JOLLIBEE AROUND THE WORLD

Homegrown Jollibee opened stores in the New York borough of Manhattan, London and Milan as it pursues its goal of becoming one of the 5 biggest fast-food operators in the world.

It also invested in a fund that will acquire the Asia-Pacific franchise of Tim Ho Wan, raised its stake in US chain Smashburger, and laid the groundwork for a Mexican food venture.

Photo by Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

FINALLY, IKEA

Urban dwellers will get their fill of stylish do-it-yourself furniture when Sweden's IKEA opens in the Philippines in 2020. The store will be the company's largest in the world.

Once complete, the IKEA store at the SM Mall of Asia will occupy 65,000 square meters, roughly the size of 150 basketball courts, the company said in a statement. It will target more than 5 million households within 60 minutes distance.

Photo by George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News