By James A. Loyola
Local share prices recovered half of its early losses which were due to the combined impact of a weak peso and fears of a global trade war on investor sentiment.
The main Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 115.43 points or 1.53 percent to 7,414.11 after earlier losing as much as 201 points as stock prices bled across the board. A total of 1.61 billion shares worth P7.75 billion changed hands. Decliners swamped advancers, 161-44, with 40 unchanged.
“With the index opening below its previous 2018 low of 7,457.05, sellers immediately took this as a bearish sign, bringing the PSEi further down to its intraday and new 2018 low of 7,328.30,” said Papa Securities Trader Gio Perez.
It was the same story in the region’s markets from Tokyo to Hong Kong and Shanghai which all suffered sharp losses yesterday.
Fresh fears of a trade war between the world’s top two economies sent Asia markets tumbling after the United States and China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars of imports.
Donald Trump’s decision to hit China with 25 percent levies was met with an immediate retaliation, moving the two closer to a trade war that could potentially batter the global economy. The announcement came despite weeks of talks between the two sides.
“Many folks will tell you this isn’t a trade war. But when one side whacks a bunch of tariffs and the other side retaliates with its own set of tariffs against the other side, that looks very much to me like the battle has been joined. Whether it escalates is a different question,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.
At the local front, Regina Capital Development Corporation Managing Director Luis Limlingan said “many are already betting ahead of the BSP meeting on Wednesday, with most expecting the central bank to keep the overnight reverse repo rate at 3.25 percent and the overnight deposit rate at 2.75 percent.”
However, Perez said “a rate hike would stem further weakness from the Peso” noting that “the Peso’s unrelenting depreciation continued its barrage on the index.”