EASING INFLATION. Decelerating consumer price index (CPI) in the US, which Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell cited in his speech on Tuesday (Feb. 8, 2023), helped appease investors' sentiment that resulted in the recovery of the local stock barometer on Wednesday. This development also lifted the peso against the US dollar during the day. (PNA file photo)


MANILA – The local bourse’s main index recovered on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted the decelerating United States consumer price index (CPI), while the peso gained to a greenback.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 0.61 percent, or 41.82 points, to 6,923.08 points.

All Shares followed with a jump of 0.53 percent, or 19.26 points, to 3,675.01 points.

Most of the sectoral gauges also rose during the day, led by Mining and Oil after it increased by 3.48 percent.

It was trailed by Financials, 1.58 percent; Property, 1.34 percent; Services, 0.67 percent; and Industrial, 0.66 percent.

Only the Holding Firms index shed during the day as it slipped by 0.48 percent.

Volume reached 1.15 billion shares amounting to PHP6.28 billion.

Advancers led decliners at 115 to 66 while 53 shares were unchanged.

“Philippine equities rose, following Powell’s speech on easing inflation,” said Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales, referring to the Fed chief’s speech before the Economic Club of Washington on Tuesday.

He said investors are also awaiting what other Fed officials will say in their respective speeches during the week.

“The discussions will be mainly about the central bank’s plan on monetary tightening to tamp down inflation,” he added.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said report about the improvement of the country’s employment data also bolstered the PSEi during the day.

This, after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported during the day that underemployment rate in the country eased to 12.6 percent last December from month-ago's 14.4 percent and year-ago's 14.7 percent.

However, unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.3 percent from 4.2 percent last November.

Ricafort said the latest unemployment rate remains among the lowest in 17 years.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose in the world market “by more than 3 percent after the central bank boosted market confidence over interest rate hikes, while picking up demand in China," Limlingan said.

Brent crude oil futures inched up by 3.83 percent to USD83.69 per barrel and the US’ West Texas Intermediate (WTI) by 0.44 percent to USD77.47 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the local currency mirrored the gains in the stock market after it appreciated against the US dollar and ended the day’s trade at 54.8 from its 55.085 close a day ago.

It opened the day at 55.00, weaker than the previous session’s 54.65.

It traded between 55.02 and 54.79, resulting in an average of 54.88.

Volume reached USD 1.15 billion, higher than the previous day’s USD 1.27 billion.

Ricafort expects the currency pair to trade between 54.25 to 54.50 on Thursday. (PNA)