Peso gains, PSEi drops ahead of policy meetings

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The peso strengthened on Monday, bouncing back to the P50:1 level, but the stock market snapped a three-day run of all-time highs ahead of key central bank policy meetings.

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The currency finished the day at P50.91:$1, gaining 19 centavos from Monday in its strongest close since August 10’s P50.79:$1.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi), on the other hand, fell 1.59 percent or 131.44 points to finish at 8,162.70.

The wider All Shares dropped 1.19 percent or 58.27 points to settle at 4,828.21.

The peso’s movement was described as “sideways” by Land Bank of the Philippines economist Guian Angelo Dumalagan, who said the market was awaiting news from the US Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan (BoJ) and the Philippines’ Monetary Board (MB).

The US central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee, which will hold a two-day meeting from September 19 to 20, is widely expected to start reversing its quantitative easing policy.

The BoJ will also be meeting for two days from Wednesday while the MB, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), will convene on Thursday.

“The local currency initially depreciated amid prospects of a hawkish Fed, but gained towards the end of the day due to similar expectations of a corresponding rate hike by the BSP before 2017 closes,” Dumalagan said.

At the stock market, IB Gimenez Securities research head Joylin Telagin said the day’s decline was due to “profit-taking after [Monday’s] record close…” .

“To add, investors are just cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting, which investors are looking at on the timing of plans to shrink their balance sheet while leaving interest rates unchanged as expected,” she added.

Summit Securities, Inc. President Harry Liu also noted profit taking by investors, who he said were “watching for constructive things”.

Joseph Roxas, president of Eagle Equities, Inc. said a correction had pulled down the index while COL Financial research head April Tan said weak regional markets also contributed to the decline.

All sectoral indices ended in the red with holding firms dropping the most at 2.10 percent.
Over 1.3 billion issues valued at P8.9 billion changed hands.

Losers outnumbered winners, 121 to 69, while 54 issues were unchanged.

with  ANGELICA BALLESTEROS

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