Stocks up as inflation slows; peso strengthens

Stocks up as inflation slows; peso strengthens

MANILA – The local stock barometer closed the shortened workweek higher on Wednesday while the peso strengthened against the US dollar partly due to the better-than-expected March inflation rate.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 0.25 percent, or 16.47 points, to 6,488.51 points.

All Shares registered a rise of 0.14 percent, or 4.78 points, to 3,486.74 points.

Most sectoral indices also gained during the day, led by Holding Firms after it inched up by 0.81 percent, and followed by Financials, 0.39 percent; Services, 0.14 percent; and Industrial and Property, 0.02 percent.

Only the Mining and Oil index ended the day lower after it slipped by 2.12 percent.

Volume reached 1.08 billion shares amounting to PHP3.38 billion.

Advancers led decliners at 93 to 71 while 59 shares were unchanged.

Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corp. head of sales, said the PSEi outpaced its counterparts in the region due to the decline in the domestic inflation rate in March to 7.6 percent from 8.6 percent in February.

Limlingan said the consensus forecast is for the rate of price increases for the month to average at 8 percent.

He, however, noted that uncertainties remain due partly to concerns about the US’ broader economy and the impact of the production cut by global oil producers.

He said oil prices in the international market “were little changed in choppy trading as investors weighed OPEC+ plans to cut more production against weak economic data from the United States and China that could suggest cooling oil demand.”

Brent crude futures rose by 1 cent to USD84.94 per barrel and the West Texas Intermediate by 0.4 percent to USD80.71 per barrel, he said.

Meanwhile, the local currency ended the week at 54.4 from Tuesday’s 54.495.

It opened the day at 54.45 and traded between 54.54 and 54.31. The day’s average stood at 54.428.

Volume rose to USD1.24 billion from the previous session’s USD889.7 million.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said the lower-than-expected inflation rate in March, along with the Asian Development Bank’s decision to keep its 2023 growth forecast for the Philippines at 6 percent, helped buoy the peso during the day.

“The peso also appreciated recently amid the widely expected seasonal increase in OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances and conversion to peso ahead of the long Holy Week holiday weekend to finance holiday-related spending, such as gatherings, reunions, travels, vacations, among others, also some preparations for tax filing/payment season later this month,” he said.

Trading on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday has been suspended as these had been declared non-working holidays. 

Trading resumes Tuesday as the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) will be commemorated on Monday, another regular holiday.

For Tuesday next week, Ricafort forecast the peso to trade between 54.30 and 54.50. (PNA)

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