Philippine corporate profits fall: study

MANILA, September 2, 2008 (AFP) – Soaring inflation contributed to a 4.3-percent fall in profits at listed Philippine firms over the three months to March, a stock exchange study said Tuesday. The fall against the same quarter last year pushed profits among the 221 companies down to 66.68 billion pesos (1.46 billion dollars), according to the research by the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Inflation, slowing economic growth and the impact of stock market losses — shares dropped 17.6 percent over the quarter — accounted for the fall, said bourse president Francis Lim.

He said the figures created “an unsettling implication” that he described as “like the proverbial calm before the storm.”

Firms in the finance, mining, oil and property sectors, together with holding companies, suffered double-digit percentage drops in profits, but overall revenues rose 10.4 percent to 589.71 billion pesos, the study said.

Philippine economic growth slowed to 4.6 percent in the first half, while annual inflation hit a 17-year high of 12.2 percent in July.

The Philippine central bank raised interest rates last month as it battles to curb inflation.

The economy grew more than seven