MANILA, Aug. 10 - - Recent carping remarks between officials of the US and North Korea continue to make investors risk-aversed  resulting to another weakness for both the Philippine peso and the stocks market Thursday.

The local currency finished the day at 50.79, PHP0.22 weaker than its 50.57 close Wednesday, which a trader again attributed to foreign selling in the local bourse.

All eyes were also on the trade gap report and the tone of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) after its rate setting meeting Thursday.

In the first half this year, the country registered a trade deficit of USD2.15 billion, lower than year-ago’s USD2.37 billion gap.

Last June alone, exports  grew by 0.8 percent year-on-year to USD4.91 billion, a reversal from the 9.2 percent decline same period last year.

Imports, during the same period, contracted by 2.5 percent to USD7 billion, a turn-around from the 21.9 percent rise in June 2016.

The policy-making Monetary Board (MB) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) kept rates steady as expected but hiked inflation projections for 2017 to 2019 partly due to higher oil prices.

Inflation is seen to average at 3.2 percent in 2017  and 2018 , and 3.1 percent in 2019. These were previously at 3.1 percent for 2017 and three percent for 2018-19.

The peso opened sideways during the day at 50.65 from 50.58 in the previous day.

It traded between 50.80 and 50.63, resulting in an average of 50.68.

Volume of trade rose to USD692.55 million from day-ago’s USD631.5 million.

The trader expects the peso to range between 50.50 and 50.70 to a greenback Friday.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 0.25 percent, or 19.58 points, to 7,966.25 points and this was still due to concerns  on the latest US-North Korea spat.

All Shares followed the main index after it contracted by 0.31 percent, or 14.57 points, to 4,708.56 points.

It was a balance between the sectors after half registered gains namely Services, 1.73 percent; Financials, 0.43 percent; and Property, 0.24 percent.

Industrial, Holding Firms, and Mining and Oil were at the other side when these fell 1.61 percent, 1.12 percent, and 0.81 percent, respectively.

Total volume reached 1.17 billion shares amounting to PHP5.2 billion.

Losers continued to surpass gainers at 111 to 84 while 52 shares were unchanged. (PNA)