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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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Big-time oil price hike today


MANILA - The days of declining pump prices are fading in the rearview mirror, as local oil firms are set to implement a significant oil price hike today, on the heels of a minor uptick in prices last week.

In separate messages, oil companies announced a P2.30 per liter increment in diesel prices and P1.40 per liter of gasoline.

Oil executives said the hike in fuel prices this week does not yet reflect the second tranche of the oil excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law.

They explained that it was an "abrupt turn-around in world crude prices that triggered the upward price adjustments this week."

According to industry sources, the benchmark Brent crude touched the USD60-per-barrel level on Friday, which was higher than its previous week’s closing of USD57.60.

Industry sources added that Brent is gaining momentum due to reports that Saudi Arabia will cut its output to ensure that there is no oversupply of oil in the global market.

Meanwhile, an assurance from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that the banking system remains strong despite Hanjin’s default soothed the fears in the local equities market but negative trade data from China shook the local currency.

Last week, reports that Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines declared bankruptcy and has a total of USD412-million worth of loans from five major domestic banks caused jitters in the domestic market.

These concerns were, however, not felt in this week’s first trading day after all the counters posted gains, led by the Philippine Stock Exchange index, which ended the day at 8,024.14 points, up 1.52 percent or 120.05 points.

The broader All Shares went up 1.19 percent, or 56.45 points, to 4,786.60 points.

On the other hand, the peso shed P0.12 after it ended at 52.26 to the greenback from its 52.14 close Friday last week.

A trader pointed this to reports about the 4.4 percent decline in China’s exports in December 2018 and the 7.6 percent contraction in imports during the same month.

The peso opened the day better at 52.17 to the greenback from its 52.28 start in the previous session.

It even improved to 52.11 but concerns about the growth of the world’s second largest economy affected the unit mid-trade, pushing it to as low as 52.275 to the US dollar.

This brought the day’s average to 52.197, slightly better than its 52.235 at the end of last week.

Volume of trade amounted to USD693.89 million, lower than its USD831 million in the previous trading.

The peso is seen to trade between 52.10 and 52.30 to a dollar today.*PNA


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