Peso weakens, PSEi flat; policy decisions awaited
The Manila Times
THE peso slipped and the stock market basically closed flat at the start of the week with investors said to be waiting for results from upcoming monetary policy meetings. The currency weakened by 5 centavos to P56.866 against the dollar while the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 1.77 points or 0.03 percent to 6,124.57. The broader All Shares dropped 10.94 points or 0.33 percent to end the day at 3,309.24. Claire Alviar, Philstocks Financial assistant research manager, said bourse’s finish was “due to a lack of strong catalysts while awaiting the meeting of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Federal Reserve.” “Moreover, net foreign selling worth P419.26 million weighed further on the market,” Alviar added. “The net market value turnover remained weak at P3.40 billion.” The US central bank will hold its meeting from September 19-20, US time, while the BSP’s policymaking Monetary Board (MB) will follow on September 21. Both are widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged and markets are keen to parse the statements to be made after the meeting for clues about how future meetings could go. Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis Limlingan said investors were awaiting the “main event this week, which is the MB’s policy meeting on September 21.” “The street widely expects that the BSP will keep the benchmark rate steady at 6.25 percent,” he added. Investors are also likely waiting for US jobless claims manufacturing data due Thursday, Limlingan continued. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort, meanwhile, said the PSEi ended “slightly lower after a gauge of China’s stock market declined to the lowest so far in 2023 amid mostly softer China economic data recently and woes on China’s property sector and developers.” As for the peso, he said that higher crude oil prices and a rise in US Treasury bond yields were factors in Monday’s decline. The peso opened trading at P56.8:$1 and ranged from P56.74 to P56.875. Volume reached P821 million, significantly lower than the P1.059 billion recorded in the previous session. At the stock market, sectoral results were mixed with property up the most by 0.41 percent and mining and oil posting the biggest drop of 0.85 percent. Just over 549.7 million shares worth some P3.64 billion changed hands. Decliners vastly outnumbered gainers, 121 to 58, while 52 remained unchanged.