Peso freefall spooks investors
Philippine shares continued their downtrend on Wednesday as the peso hit a new low against the US dollar ahead of a prospective monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve.
By the closing bell, the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Index fell 1.66 percent, or 106.77 points, to 6,341.69, while the broader All Shares index tumbled 1.38 percent, or 47.22 points, to 3,385.52. Heavy selling pushed down all PSE sub-indices, save for mining and oil, which rose 0.18 percent.
Financial and property counters dropped 2.49 percent and 2.22 percent, respectively, while industrial, services and holding firms also retreated.
On Wednesday, the peso fell to a record low of P58 against the greenback ahead of an expected US interest rate hike of 75 basis points.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is set to hold a separate rate-setting meeting on Thursday.
The peso’s slide puts the 60:$1 psychological barrier within view, but Fernando Antonio Tansingco, treasurer at Metropolitan Bank & Trust, said this could be “avoided” should monetary authorities narrow the interest rate differential between the Philippines and the US.
Meanwhile, local bourse data showed 569.25 million shares valued at P5.4 billion changing hands while net foreign selling accelerated to P421.14 million. Ayala Land Inc. was the top traded stock as it slipped 2.53 percent to P26.95 per share.
It was followed by SM Investments Corp., down 1.15 percent to P818.50; International Container Terminal Services Inc., down 1.52 percent to P181; SM Prime Holdings Inc., down 1.97 percent to P34.90; and Jollibee Foods Corp., down 2.46 percent to P238 per share.
Overall, there were 151 losers against 39 advancers while 33 companies closed unchanged.
—Miguel R. Camus
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