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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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PSEi up, peso down
on bank's RRR cut

MANILA - Bargain-hunting boosted the Philippine Stock Exchange index yesterday, following the surprised cut on the bank's reserve requirement ratio by a percentage point Thursday last week, which disadvantaged the peso.

PSEi gained 1.14 percent, or 97.78 points, to 8,710.22 points, which a trader said was in line with its counterparts in the region.

The trader said sentiments in the region are up on expectations for rate hikes in the US in the near term.

With risk-on sentiments up, all the other indices also posted increases with the All Shares up by 0.94 percent, or 47.60 points, to 5,123.20 points.

The sectors were led by the Financials after it went up by 2.56 percent followed by Mining and Oil, 1.72 percent; Property, 1.38 percent; Services, 1.35 percent; Industrial, 0.66 percent; and Holding Firms, 0.38 percent.

Volume for the day reached 7.4 billion shares, amounting to P9.7 billion.

Gainers led losers at 141 to 65, while 44 shares were unchanged.

On the other hand, the peso closed at 52.34 to a dollar on the week's first trading day, weaker than its 52.00 finish Thursday last week. There was no trading last Friday due to the celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Its close during the day was its weakest after 52.74 close on July 19, 2006.

A trader said market players reacted to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' cut on banks' RRR to 19 percent last week, which monetary officials said was in line with the central bank's shift to market-based monetary policy implementation and the bid to introduce more financial market reforms.

The last time the central bank adjusted RRR was in 2014 when it was hiked by a total of 50 basis points, 25 basis points each in March and May, as growth of domestic liquidity grew stronger than in the past years at a level of more than 20 percent.

The trader said market players continued to see further peso depreciation as a result of the RRR cut, thus, their preference for the greenback.

For the day, the local unit opened at 52.30, down from its 52.08 start in the previous session.

It traded between 52.45 and 52.24, resulting in an average of 52.35.

Volume surged to USD1.025 billion nearly twice the USD57.5 million at the end of last week's trading.

The currency pair is seen to range between 52.20 and 52.40 today.*PNA


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