PHP, PSEi down as markets turn on Fed after lack of details from Trump’s speech

MANILA- Both the Philippines peso and the equities market registered losses Wednesday even after investors got disappointed on US President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address since he failed to give specifics on his programs.

The local currency finished the day at 50.28 from the previous day's 50.21, which a trader also traced to positive developments on the US economy such as the increase in consumer confidence in February to a 114.8 print from last January's 111.6.

The trader said that after markets failed to get new details on the Trump administration's programs focus was turned to the anticipation for a possible hike in the Federal Reserve rates when the Federal Open Market Committee meets on March 14-15.

Hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials overnight made investors hope for a Fed rate increase this month, the trader said.

The peso opened the day at 50.32 little changed from day-ago's 50.30.

It traded between its opening level and 50.23 bringing the average to 50.29.

Volume of trade rose to USD 429.8 million from the previous session's USD 389.8 million.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said markets would have a wait-and-see stance after Trump's speech provided little details of his government's program.

"The market will therefore still try to get a feel of how the stimulus will be funded and whether such moves will raise the US inflation path appreciably," he said.

Tetangco said "the market may turn its focus again on the Fed and expectations of its next moves."

"The peso and other EME (emerging market economies) currencies would likely trade in a relatively narrow band until more clarity comes from US policy makers," he added.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended the day at 7,170.70 points, down 0.57 percent or 41.39 points.

All Shares tracked the main index and fell 0.49 percent, or 21.21 points to 4,347.17 points.

Mining and Oil rose 1.62 percent followed by Industrial, 0.30 percent, and Financials, 0.02 percent.

On the other side are the Services, which contracted by 1.83 percent, Holding Firms, 0.73 percent, and Property, 0.53 percent.

Volume reached 956.43 million shares amounting to Php 5.2 billion.

Decliners led advancers at 95 to 93 while 46 shares were unchanged. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency