Economy 3 MIN READ

Shares inch up as market awaits inflation report

March 6, 2023By BusinessWorld

PHILIPPINE SHARES eked out gains on Monday as investors awaited the release of February inflation data.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 15.75 points or 0.23% to close at 6,671.12 on Monday, while the broader all shares index rose by 8.64 points or 0.24% to end at 3,573.06.

“Philippine shares climbed up slightly as investors await the release of the February inflation report on Tuesday. [Tuesday]’s CPI (consumer price index) release may have a huge influence in the direction of the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) policy stance for the subsequent meetings,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

Mr. Limlingan added that the market was also looking ahead to the release of other economic data at home and in the United States this week.

“Investors opted to stay on the sidelines ahead of the release of key February inflation data. The BSP has warned that inflation will remain elevated and could lead to tighter monetary policy in the near term,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Vice-President Jovis L. Vistan said in a Viber message.

A BusinessWorld poll of 17 analysts yielded a median estimate of 8.9% for February headline inflation, within the 8.5% to 9.3% forecast given by the BSP.

If realized, this will be faster than the 14-year high of 8.7% seen in January and the 3% a year earlier.

BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla last week said the central bank may raise rates by another 50 basis points (bps) this month if February inflation exceeds 9%.

The Monetary Board will hold its second policy meeting for this year on March 23.

At its February 16 review, the BSP hiked benchmark interest rates by 50 bps for a second straight meeting, bringing its key rate to 6%, the highest in nearly 16 years.

The central bank has increased borrowing costs by 400 bps since May 2022 as it seeks to bring inflation down.

Almost all sectoral indices closed higher on Monday. Services gained 20.59 points or 1.26% to end at 1,644.21; property went up by 15.28 points or 0.53% to 2,864.77; mining and oil climbed by 39.57 points or 0.35% to 11,112.46; industrials rose by 19.28 points or 0.20% to 9,574.99; and financials increased by 0.03 point to 1,836.20.

Meanwhile, holding firms declined by 6.60 points or 0.1% to 6,427.64.

Value turnover dropped to PHP 4.75 billion on Monday with 659.95 million shares changing hands from the PHP 6.48 billion with 828.96 million issues traded on Friday.

Net foreign buying stood at PHP 5.60 million on Monday versus the PHP 501.96 million in net selling seen on Friday.

AB Capital’s Mr. Vistan placed the PSEi’s support at 6,570 and resistance at its 20-day moving average of 6,758, while Regina Capital’s Mr. Limlingan put support 6,602.88 and resistance at 6,744.31. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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