PSEi slips ahead of economic data releases; peso almost flat

PSEi slips ahead of economic data releases; peso almost flat

MANILA – The local bourse’s main index started the week in the negative territory ahead of the release of several major economic data releases both here and in the United States, while the peso finished the day sideways against the US dollar.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed by 0.11 percent, or 7.14 points, to 6,595.03 points.

All Shares followed with a slip of 0.08 percent, or 2.65 points, to 3,514.07 points.

Two of the six sectoral gauges tracked the main index, with Services down by 1.02 percent and Financials by 0.15 percent.

On the other hand, Mining and Oil gained by 0.35 percent, Holding Firms by 0.23 percent and Industrial by 0.11 percent.

The Property index was almost unchanged after a rise of 0.01 percent.

Volume reached 390.14 million shares amounting to PHP3.63 billion.

Decliners surpassed advancers at 87 to 82 while 46 shares were unchanged.

“Philippine shares began the week quietly as investors begin to brace themselves for the quarter end window dressing this Friday,” said Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales.

He said this week’s trading will be driven by, among others, the core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) for March 2023 in the US and several speeches by Federal Reserve officials.

On the local front, the government is scheduled to release this week the national budget report for February 2023 and bank lending performance.

“Oil prices fell amid declining European banking shares and after US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said refilling the country’s SPR (strategic petroleum reserves) may take several years, dampening demand prospects,” Limlingan said.

Brent crude oil futures declined by 1.3 percent to USD74.96 per barrel and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) by 1.1 percent to USD69.22 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the local currency ended the week’s first trading day little changed against the US dollar at 54.29 from 54.35 last Friday.

It opened the day at 54.33 and traded between 54.55 and 54.26. The average level for the day stood at 54.439.

Volume rose to USD 1.08 billion from the previous session’s USD1.04 billion.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said the peso ended the day to its strongest since last Feb. 3 when it finished the trade at 53.68.

Ricafort attributed the strengthening of the local currency to a statement by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno saying that the policy-making Monetary Board (MB) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which he is part of, will likely pause rates on its next policy meeting in May.

Last week, the BSP’s key rates were raised by 25 basis points, which brought the total increase in the central bank’s policy rates since May 2022 to 425 basis points, after monetary authorities cited expectations for still elevated inflation rate in most of this year.

Ricafort said an announcement of a possible issuance of around USD3billion worth of euro-denominated global bond by the Philippines government next month and the drop in global oil prices also boosted the peso.

He said that since the start of the year, the local currency has depreciated by around 2.6 percent against the greenback but it remains among the best performing unit in the region to date.

For Tuesday, the currency pair is expected to trade between 54.20 to 54.40. (PNA)

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