Peso ends week flat vs. USD; PSEi down

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MANILA – -The peso ended the week steady against the dollar even as the country posted a higher trade deficit in January this year. But the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed anew.

The local currency finished the week at 52.03, same as its close Thursday, which a trader said was within expectations given the trade report on the Philippines.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Friday reported that exports grew 0.5 percent year-on-year in January 2018, lower than the 22 percent growth same month in 2017.

Imports last January, on the other hand, grew 11.4 percent though slower than the 12.2 percent growth a year ago.

Thus the balance of trade in goods in the first month this year posted a higher deficit of USD3.32 billion from year-ago’s USD2.47 billion, which the trader said was not bad given the higher importation requirements of the domestic economy because of its sustained expansion.

On the external front, the trader said investors are awaiting the non-farm payroll report from US later in the day.

Another factor that made investors wary is the reported meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, scheduled around May this year.

For the day, the peso opened weaker at 52.12 from the previous session’s 51.98. It traded between its closing level and 52.14, resulting in an average of 52.09. Volume of trade reached USD592.1 million, up from the USD453.7 million a day ago.

The trader expects the peso to range between 51.90 and 52.20 to a dollar next week.

The main equities index, meanwhile, slipped for the second-day in a row and gave up 0.11 percent, or 9.34 points, to 8,372.51 points.

All Shares tracked the main index and lost 0.25 percent, or 12.69 points, to 5,052.79 points.

It is a generally a losing trend among the sectors with Services, Financials, Holding Firms, and Mining and Oil down by 0.39 percent, 0.26 percent, 0.21 percent, and 0.14 percent, respectively.

Property and Industrial bucked the trend after these went up by 0.72 percent and 0.27 percent, respectively.

Volume for the day reached 2.57 billion shares amounting to PHP6.58 billion. Advancers led decliners at 125 to 82 while 54 stocks were unchanged.

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