Tax collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs remained sluggish in October, amid the economic slowdown. COMPANY HANDOUT

THE government’s budget deficit swelled in October, bringing the 10-month gap to nearly P1 trillion as state revenues remained weak and spending continued to decline even as economic managers pledged to ramp up spending to stimulate the economy.

Latest data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed the budget gap rose by 24.56% to P61.4 billion in October. This brought the year-to-date shortfall to a record-high of P940.6 billion, up 170% from the P348-billion deficit seen in the same period last year.

In 2019, the budget deficit reached P660.2 billion. Economic managers estimated that the budget gap will hit P1.815 trillion this year or equivalent to 9.6% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Broken down, overall spending went down for the second straight month last month by 6.84% … Read the rest

The Canadian dollar is on a tear, relatively speaking. USD/CAD extended losses yesterday, breeching support at $1.3000, and touching $1.2990, before rebounding to $1.3027 overnight. However, the Canadian dollar gains since November 2 pale in the face of the gains achieved by its commodity bloc cousins, AUD/USD which rose 4.37%, and NZD/USD, up 5.29%.

The Canadian dollar is getting some support from WTI oil prices which have risen over 34% since November 2. Oil prices have gained because of speculation that when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia meet at the end of the month, they will agree to delay the schedule reduction of existing production cuts until the middle of 2021. Also, news of successful COVID-19 vaccine tests raised expectations for a surge in oil demand in the coming months.

Global equity indexes continue to climb. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 30,000 for the … Read the rest

This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Good morning, Term Sheet readers. Finance reporter Anne Sraders here, filling in for Lucinda. 

VC fundraising just booked a new record: U.S. VC funds raised a total of $69.1 billion so far in 2020, beating the high set in 2018 of $67.8 billion, according to PitchBook

And we have Andreessen Horowitz to thank for that. The firm closed two massive funds on Friday: one $1.3 billion fund for early-stage consumer and fintech companies, and another $3.2 billion fund focused on later-stage investments. (Mega funds over $1 billion like a16z’s made up a record 15% of all U.S. VC funds raised this year as of September.)

Part of the funding frenzy owes to the “move from on-premise to cloud, from laptops … Read the rest

The Ministry of Defence and Department for Work and Pensions recently issued a letter to organisations encouraging them to tap into the skills sets of Armed Forces leavers to help build a diverse workforce positioned for success while navigating economic recovery.

The MOD and the Department for Work and Pensions is keen to raise awareness of the tools that employers can access to in order to build relationships with Armed Forces leavers. Businesses that need talent are being encouraged to register with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), the MoD’s official provider, and the only organisation who can provide access to the entire Service leaver candidate pool, at no cost to you.

By registering with CTP, employers gain access to a range of services including CTP RightJob (a unique, no cost, online jobs board exclusively for service leavers and veterans) to advertise job vacancies, attend employment fairs and other virtual events. … Read the rest

Vote buying is highest in the Philippines and Thailand, where 28% have been offered a bribe in return for a vote, according to a survey by Transparency International. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

MORE FILIPINOS are confident that the government is doing well in tackling corruption compared with Asian neighbors, although they also believe corruption in government remains a big problem, a survey from Transparency International showed.

The Global Corruption Barometer Asia 2020 released on Tuesday surveyed nearly 20,000 citizens from 17 countries, mostly between June and September 2020.

Results showed that 64% of Philippine respondents think that corruption has decreased in the last 12 months, while only 24% believe that it increased. Across Asia, 32% believe that corruption decreased and 38% said that it went up.

More Filipinos express confidence in government’s anti-corruption efforts

As much as 85% in the Philippines believe that the government is doing a good job in addressing corruption, Read the rest

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs are among the most widely used medications in the world for pain and inflammation. In fact, more than 33 million Americans use them regularly, and more than 30 billion doses of NSAIDs are administered annually in the U.S., according to MedicineNet. Unfortunately, some 25% of people taking these medicines develop gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding. To combat these side effects, and help fill a very large unmet medical need, Antibe Therapeutics Inc. (TSX:ATE)(OTCQB:ATBPF) is working on next-generation NSAIDs that could offer the same anti-inflammatory properties of current NSAIDs but with a greatly decreased risk of gastrointestinal side effects. Their development pipeline includes a drug for chronic pain and a strong painkiller to replace opioids for postoperative pain. Antibe is also moving toward a potential listing on a senior U.S. exchange, following in the footsteps of growing Canadian biotechs like Aptose Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ:APTO), Trillium Therapeutics Inc. … Read the rest

If you’re feeling lonely this Thanksgiving, and wishing for human contact, don’t dismiss what your head and heart are telling you.

Those cravings aren’t just cabin fever—the human body hungers for companionship in much the way we hunger for food, according to a new study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The study may just shed some light into the phenomenon of lockdown fatigue—that is, why, for example, so many Americans are willing to ignore guidelines from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention to stay at home this holiday season, or why anti-lockdown protests continue to bloom from Berlin to Columbus, Ohio. One possible reason? Humans may have this innate biological need to see each other. And restrictions, no matter how well intentioned, are messing with it.

The MIT study, conducted mostly on college-age volunteers in 2018 and 2019—before the pandemic—found that 10 hours without any social contact, … Read the rest

Cineworld, the world’s second-largest movie chain operator, has secured financial lifelines worth $750m (£560m) to weather the coronavirus pandemic.

London-listed Cineworld, which shut all of its 660 movie theatres in the US and the UK in October, said the financial agreements mean it has enough liquidity to make it through next year – as long as cinemas are allowed to reopen by May.

The company has agreed financial measures with lenders including a new $450m debt facility. Other agreements include a waiver on all covenants on payments on its debt – which stands at $4.9bn – until June 2022 and an extension on its $111m revolving credit facility to 2024. In addition, Cineworld has accelerated the closure of its US tax year which will generate a $200m tax refund early next year.

“The measures we are announcing today deliver over $750m of extra liquidity to support our business,” said Mooky … Read the rest

New investment pledges are expected to be lower this year amid the pandemic. — REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is aiming to approve more than P100 billion in investment pledges by the end of the year, led by a potential investor relocating from China.

“We might exceed more than P100 billion this year, with all these positive responses of our present investors and incoming investors,” PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza in a press conference on Monday.

For the first 10 months of 2020, the agency reported P72.6 billion in new investment pledges, falling by more than a quarter from a year earlier.

The PEZA board approved another P14.6 billion worth of new investments during its board meeting earlier this month.

However, even if PEZA reaches P100 billion in new investment pledges, this would still be around 15% lower than P117.54 billion in investments … Read the rest

Something is afoot of late when taking a closer look at major indices such as the S&P 500 — which is within a whisker of a new all-time high just as continued election uncertainty and rising COVID-19 cases worldwide — seemingly should scare Wall Street into safer investments.

The reality is that investors are all looking past these near-term issues, and focusing instead on vaccines, a new U.S. administration and hopefully a return to somewhat normalcy in 2021. At the end, the rule of law, democracy and science will always prevail, and everyone is betting on this to be the case right now.

Speaking of science, in its 114 years of existence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved over 20,000 prescription drugs. It’s also given marketing clearance from more than 1,600 drugs specific to animals. It’s rather amazing to think about nearly 22,000 products to fight diseases and … Read the rest