Peso back at P54:$1 but stock market drops

THE peso gained against the dollar, but the stock market fell on Monday amid renewed investor concerns over interest rate hikes.

The currency strengthened by 29 centavos to close at P54.95:$1 while the benchmark Philippine Stock Market index (PSEi) lost 34.90 points or 0.51 percent to end the day at 6,744.12.

The broader All Shares also retreated, falling by 13.94 points or 0.38 percent to 3,607.75.

Philstocks Financial Inc. research associate Claire Alviar noted that both the US Federal Reserve and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas were looking to hike interest rates anew to manage elevated inflation.

She added that trading was also “anemic amid lack of positive catalysts, as net market value turnover registered a figure of P3.04 billion only, the lowest net turnover recorded this year.”

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Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort, meanwhile, said geopolitical worries had dampened sentiment.

“US-China tensions increased after US Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken warned China though Foreign Minister Wang Yi on aiding Russia’s war versus Ukraine and rebuked China on the alleged spy balloon shot down in the US,” he said.

“Moreover, North Korea tested an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) on Feb. 18, 2023, and the US responded the following day with a show of force through joint aerial drills with both South Korea and Japan,” Ricafort added.

The peso opened at P55.31:$1 and ranged from P54.95 to P55.32. Volume reached $717.4 million, lower than the $878.3 million in the previous session.

At the stock market, all sectoral indices closed in the red with mining and oil down the most by 1.21 percent.

Just 483.44 million shares worth P3.3 billion were transacted.

Decliners overwhelmed advancers, 115 to 72, while 47 remained unchanged.