Peso rises to 51-level, stocks down on volatility

MANILA — Risk on sentiment allowed the Philippine peso to rise to 51-level against the US dollar Thursday, while the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended on negative territory.

The peso finished the day’s trade at 51.93 from 52.15 Wednesday.

A trader attributed the gains to optimism following news that China has agreed to give tariff exemptions on some US goods.

“We continue to see improved sentiments on trade news overseas as well as the Chinese government’s support to its banks,” the trader said.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is also expected to cut rates Thursday (Manila time), which the trader said is widely expected and may not impact on the local currency unless the rate cut will be accompanied by another tool, such as quantitative easing.

The local currency opened almost unchanged at 52.06 from 52.05 a day ago.

It strengthened to as much as 51.91 but also touched 52.09, resulting in an average of 52.001.

Volume reached USD1.17 billion, lower than day-ago’s USD1.44 billion.

The currency pair is seen to trade between 51.80 and 52.10 on Friday.

On the other hand, the main equities gauge shed 0.30 percent, or 23.47 points, to 7,944.43 points, which another trader traced to current volatility in the market given also the geopolitical issues between US and Iran.

All Shares contracted by 0.11 percent, or 5.03 points, to 4,799.79 points.

Four of the six sectoral counters tracked the main index, led by the Property which lost 0.81 percent.

It was followed by the Services, 0.69 percent; Industrial, 0.40 percent; and Financials, 0.20 percent.

Mining and Oil index rose by 0.17 percent and Holding Firms by 0.14 percent.

Volume was thin at a little over 702 million shares amounting to PHP6.73 billion.

Decliners led advancers at 96 to 93, while 50 shares were unchanged . Joann Villanueva/PNA-