MIXED. Weakening of the US dollar allowed the Philippine peso to improve to the PHP 55-level against the greenback on Friday. However, the main equities index slipped again as investors take profit from the Philippine Stock Exchange index's (PSEi) recent rally. (PNA graphics)

MANILA – The Philippine peso ended the week better against the US dollar after climbing to the PHP55-level, but the main equities index shed anew as investors continue to take profit following last week’s rally.

The local currency ended the trading at PHP55.71 a dollar from PHP 56.1 on Thursday.

It opened the day at PHP56.2 a dollar, an improvement from its PHP56.45 opening in the previous session.

It traded between PHP56.2 and PHP55.71, resulting to an average of PHP55.983 a dollar.

Volume reached USD1.28 billion, up from Thursday’s USD898.7 million.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist said the local currency closed to its strongest in nearly four months, or since Aug. 12, when it finished the trade at PHP55.61 to a greenback.

He traced the peso’s strength partly to the expected higher inflows of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) remittances, a seasonal event during the Christmas holidays.

He said the US dollar continued to weaken against major currencies “after the softer US economic data recently.”

He is referring to, among others, the ISM Manufacturing index, a major economic report, which registered a reading of 49 last month, weaker than estimates. An index of above 50 shows expansion but those below 50 indicates otherwise.

For next week, he forecasts the peso to trade between 55.30 to 56.00, while the projected range for Monday is between 55.60 to 55.90.

On the other hand, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 3.64 percent, or 245.34 points, to 6,489.65 points.

It was trailed by all the other counters, with the All Shares down by 2.32 percent, or 81.38 points, to 3,419.65 points.

Holding Firms posted the highest drop among the sectoral gauges after it fell by 5.11 percent.

It was followed by the Financials, 2.84 percent; Property, 2.40 percent; Services, 2.32 percent; Industrial, 2.05 percent; and Mining and Oil, 1.41 percent.

Total volume reached 874.3 million shares amounting to PHP6.32 billion.

Losers surpassed gainers at 108 to 75 while 56 shares were unchanged.

“Following a meteoric rise in the market, investors finally decided to cash in to close the week with majority of the regional (bourses) declining,” Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales, said.

He said investors also weighed on economic data releases that include US’ core personal consumption expenditures for October 2022, which rose by 0.2 percent for the month and 5 percent year-on-year.

The core personal consumption expenditure index excludes food and energy, and is favored by the Federal Reserve.

“Market players await the final monthly employment report before the Fed’s meeting on December 13-14, where the central bank is estimated to increase its Fed Funds target rate by 0.50 percent,” he said.

On the other hand, oil prices posted mixed results with the Brent crude oil futures down by USD0.09 to USD86.88 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose by USD0.67 to USD81.22 per barrel. (PNA)