Of inflation and alphanumeric 

Cathy Pimentel, a young entrepreneur who owns and manages O2 Skin Lab in upscale BGC, shares the difficulty in keeping her business afloat. 

Beauty regimen is actually among the lowest in priority spending, especially at the height of the pandemic. 

Though there has been a remarkable uptick in clients, a good portion of her revenues is eaten up by the increases in maintenance and operating expenses. 

The skin products used are sourced offshore and inflation has caught up with the exporter, increasing the price by 20 percent. The take home pay of her staff has to be adjusted as well, though not in step with the surge in inflation. 

Chinatrust Vice Chairman Bill Go and market analyst Jonas Ravelas echo Cathy’s sentiment that inflation will continue to influence the economic growth path of the country and the rest of the world. 

Inflation is not cooling off. Unlike in the US where economic data indicate that the worse is over, here it remains elevated. A common assessment among bankers and market analysts is that inflation has yet to peak. 

Even the monetary authorities believed so, as they project prices of food commodities to remain high with onions per kilo more expensive than a kilo of pork or beef. 

Yesterday, a pack of chanterelle inched by ₱5 from a week ago price of ₱120, a little over four percent up. 

Despite this, consumer spending continues to be strong, which could propel economic growth. 

However, the risk of global recession is still in our midst and lingering geopolitical tension, particularly the Russia-Ukraine situation. 

While International Monetary Fund chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas is cautiously optimistic on his global economic outlook for the year, inflation is still the game changer. 

For one, Cathy shares that her rent went up 21 percent starting January simply because of the perception that business is improving. 

Realistically, though, her profit margin remains fragile, pushing her to innovate her marketing strategy like engaging influencers to get more business traction. 

Online engagement is the way to go now. Online business has evolved and became our way of life since the pandemic was declared nearly three years ago. 

And banking has stepped up as well. All things considered, particularly the safeguards, it’s comfortable to do banking transactions online. 

Admit it, it’s far and far between that we visit our bank. I do occasionally if I need a replenishment of my checkbook. 

Using checks as negotiable instrument such as paying for your grocery purchase or settlement of your monthly electricity bill is yet to be acceptable here unlike in the United States. 

We’re more for digital banking - online settlement here- GCash, Maya, QR code. 

Still, we issue checks for certain transactions. This calls to mind the friendly reminder from the Philippine Clearing House Corp. that checks with alphanumeric issued dates like today, February 3, 2023, will remain acceptable until end April. “The intention of full numeric date format (MM-DD-YYYY) is to imply a standard of writing issue date on checks.”

And starting May 1, this date format becomes the start of determining check acceptability for clearing. 

Though the check format has altogether changed since 2019, prior to this there are post dated checks (PDCs) written in alphanumeric format issued like when we buy a vehicle on a five-year installment basis? 

Chill. These PDCs will still be acceptable provided they’re “stamped warehouse” by the banks prior to May 2.

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