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Peso seen to trade sideways ahead of rate-setting moves

THE PESO could trade sideways versus the dollar this week ahead of the rate-setting meetings by the US Federal Reserve and by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The local unit closed at P56.815 versus the dollar on Friday, weakening by five centavos from Thursday’s P56.765 finish, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines’ website showed.

Week on week, the peso likewise fell by 18.50 centavos from its P56.63 close on Sept. 8.

The local unit opened Friday’s session at P56.78 per dollar, which was also its intraday best. Its weakest showing was at P56.90 against the greenback.

Dollars traded rose to $1.06 billion on Friday from $1.17 billion on Thursday.

The peso weakened against the dollar on Friday “after mostly stronger US retail sales and US producer price index (PPI) data that could support the higher-for-longer Fed rates narrative,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

“[The] US dollar strengthened against most currencies [on Friday] following resilient US economic data,” a trader added in a Viber message.

The dollar index surged to a six-month high on Thursday as economic data was mostly stronger than expected, hitting the 105.43 level earlier in the day, its highest since March 9.

The index was on track for its biggest one-day percentage gain in just over a week, Reuters reported.

Retail sales rose by 0.6% last month. Data for July was revised lower to show sales advancing 0.5% instead of the previously reported 0.7%. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales gaining 0.2%. Retail sales are mostly goods and are not adjusted for inflation. They rose 2.5% on a year-on-year basis.

Meanwhile, the producer price index (PPI) for final demand rose 0.7% last month, the largest gain since June 2022, the Labor department said on Thursday. Data for July was revised slightly to show the PPI advancing 0.4% instead of the previously reported 0.3%.

Higher global crude oil prices recently and losses at the local stock market also dragged down the peso, Mr. Ricafort added.

Brent crude futures rose by 23 cents or 0.3% to settle at $93.93 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate futures were up 61 cents or 0.7% to close at $90.77 a barrel. Both contracts traded at 10-month highs on Tuesday for the fifth consecutive session and gained about 4% on a weekly basis.

Meanwhile, the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 82.06 points or 1.32% to end at 6,126.34 on Friday, while the broader all shares index dipped by 33.13 points or 0.99% to close at 3,320.18.

The PSEi on Wednesday sank to the 6,100 level due to concerns about US inflation. This was its lowest level in 10 months or since October 2022.

For this week, Mr. Ricafort said the peso could trade sideways ahead of the rate-setting meetings by central banks.

The Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) last month, bringing its benchmark overnight rate to a range between 5.25% and 5.5%.

It has hiked rates by a cumulative 525 bps since it began its tightening cycle in March last year.

The Federal Open Market Committee will next meet on Sept. 19-20 to review policy.

Meanwhile, the BSP extended its policy pause for a third straight time at its Aug. 17 meeting, keeping the benchmark interest rate at a near 16-year high of 6.25%.

The central bank has raised borrowing costs by 425 bps from May 2022 to March 2023 to tame inflation.

The Monetary Board will next meet on Sept. 21 to review policy.

The trader said the peso is likely to remain below the P57-per-dollar level due to a potential intervention from the BSP.

The trader sees the peso moving between P56.50 and P57 per dollar this week, while Mr. Ricafort sees it ranging from P56.50 to P56.95. — Aaron Michael C. Sy with Reuters

#Peso #trade #sideways #ahead #ratesetting #moves

Peso weakens anew vs dollar ahead of US inflation report

THE PESO depreciated against the dollar anew on Wednesday on expectations of a pickup in US consumer inflation last month.

The local currency closed at P56.72 versus the dollar on Wednesday, weakening by seven centavos from Tuesday’s P56.65 finish, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines’ website showed.

The local unit opened Wednesday’s session at P56.68 per dollar. Its intraday best was at P56.60, while its weakest showing was at P57.73 against the greenback.

Dollars traded went down to $1.02 billion on Wednesday from the $1.11 billion on Tuesday.

The peso was dragged down by expectations of faster US inflation in August, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

“The peso depreciated anew amid potentially higher US consumer inflation reports due to be released tonight,” a trader likewise said in an e-mail.

US consumer prices likely increased by the most in 14 months in August amid a surge in the cost of gasoline, but an expected moderate rise in underlying inflation could encourage the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates on hold next Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The consumer price index (CPI) likely increased by 0.6% last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists. That would be the largest gain since June 2022 and would follow two straight monthly advances of 0.2%.

Mr. Ricafort added that a stronger dollar and higher global crude oil prices on Wednesday caused the peso to decline.

The dollar index, which tracks the currency against six peers, held firm, though moves were subdued, up 0.1% to 104.70, as traders awaited the US CPI reading for August.

The dollar index has surged 5% since late July and stands at its highest level in around half a year.

Meanwhile, oil prices jumped about 2% to a near 10-month high on Tuesday on a tighter supply outlook and optimism over the resilience of energy demand in major economies.

Brent futures rose by $1.42 or 1.6% to settle at $92.06 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose by $1.55 or 1.8% to settle at $88.84. Both benchmarks closed at their highest levels since November 2022.

For Thursday, the trader said the peso could weaken further following the US CPI report and ahead of the release of US producer price index data.

The trader sees the peso moving between P56.60 and P56.85 a dollar on Thursday, while Mr. Ricafort expects it to range from P56.60 to P56.80. — AMCS with Reuters

#Peso #weakens #anew #dollar #ahead #inflation #report

N.Korea’s Kim stresses ‘strategic importance’ of Russia ties ahead of Putin summit

N.Korea’s Kim stresses ‘strategic importance’ of Russia ties ahead of Putin summit

 – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said his visit to Russia shows the “strategic importance” of the two countries’ ties, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday ahead of an expected summit with President Vladimir Putin.

The meeting, which could be as early as Wednesday, is being watched apprehensively by Washington and allies, who suspect the two leaders will discuss military cooperation and could agree on a deal to trade arms and defense technology.

Hours ahead of the anticipated summit, North Korea launched at least two ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military and Japan’s coast guard said. Details on the type of missiles were not yet released.

The Japanese government said a second missile was launched and both fell outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Mr. Kim arrived in Russia by private train on Tuesday in the Russian Far East accompanied by top defense industry and military aides, and was welcomed by an honor guard and senior Russian and regional officials, KCNA said.

Kim Jong Un said that his visit to the Russian Federation … is a clear manifestation of the stand of the WPK and the government of the DPRK prioritizing the strategic importance of DPRK-Russia relations,” the KCNA report said.

The DPRK stands for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, while the WPK is the Workers’ Party of Korea, the country’s ruling party.

US officials have said arms talks between Russia and North Korea were actively advancing, and Washington and allies have expressed concern that Kim and Putin would discuss providing Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine.

Pyongyang and Moscow have denied shipments of ammunition to Russia or any future plans by the North to supply arms.

Images released by KCNA showed Mr. Kim arriving at the train station in the border town of Khasan on Tuesday morning, stepping off the train for the welcome ceremony and moving indoors for discussions with Russian officials.

He met with Russian Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov and far eastern Primorsky region governor Oleg Kozhemyako before leaving “for his destination”, KCNA said. It made no mention of a summit with Mr. Putin or where Mr. Kim was headed.

Japan’s Kyodo news said Putin and Kim are expected to meet on Wednesday afternoon at Russia‘s Vostochny cosmodrome, a space centre more than 1,700 km (1,056 miles) north of Khasan, citing an unnamed Russian official.

On Tuesday, Mr. Putin said at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok that he was planning to go to the Vostochny space centre, without saying whether he planned to meet Kim there.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr. Kim‘s visit will be a “fully fledged” one and the two sides will conduct “negotiations”. Humanitarian aid to North Korea and U.N. Security Council resolutions imposed on Pyongyang may also be discussed, Russian officials have said.

Russia’s foreign ministry said the upcoming talks between Putin and Kim are important against the backdrop of geopolitical changes in the world.

“Bilateral contacts are very important. And the situation on the Korean Peninsula is, of course, of utmost importance for security and stability in the region,” state news agency RIA quoted ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.

The United States and South Korea have warned any arms trade with the North is violation of Security Council resolutions that Moscow voted to approve.

The trip marks Kim‘s first visit to Russia in nearly four years and his first foreign visit after the worldwide public health crisis, according to KCNA, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

His visit seeks to put DPRK-Russia relations of friendship and cooperation on a “fresh higher level,” the report said. – Reuters

#N.Koreas #Kim #stresses #strategic #importance #Russia #ties #ahead #Putin #summit

Hotel occupancy to rise ahead of holidays, says tourism group

Hotel occupancy to rise ahead of holidays, says tourism group

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

THE occupancy rates in hotels are expected to surge as consumer spending increases ahead of the holiday season, according to a local industry association.   

“We’re very confident about the fourth quarter… People love to spend during Christmas. Even if they don’t have all the money in the world to spend, they will definitely stay in a hotel even for one night,” said Loleth G. So, president of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) for the Philippines, in a press conference on Thursday.

“Last year, we did 82% average occupancy. We’re confident that we will even be better this year because the country is now open,” she added.   

Ms. So, also Megaworld Hotels and Resorts area director of sales and marketing, said the current hotel occupancy rate has improved compared with pre-pandemic levels.   

She added that domestic tourists account for 80% of hotel occupants, while foreigners make up the remaining 20%.   

“Pre-pandemic, occupancy was running at about 65% to 75%. Right now, our average occupancy year to date, we are already running at 72-78% occupancy. The good thing is, as compared to 2019, average rate is higher. The higher the average occupancy, the higher the revenues,” Ms. So said.   

“Because the average [hotel] rate is about 8-10% higher, automatically the impact of that revenue-wise is far larger,” she added.   

For 2023, the Tourism department is aiming to log 4.8 million international arrivals, higher than the 2.65 million foreign visitor arrivals last year.    

Ms. So said the length of stay in hotels has been prolonged, signaling the recovery of the industry.   

“The length of stay from January to March was one to two days. Now, it has actually increased to 3.2 to 3.5 days. It is now longer,” Ms. So said.    

In the same event, HSMA announced that it will have its first Hospital Summit on Oct. 12 at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City. The event will be open to HSMA members and nonmembers.   

The summit will feature topics such as recovery in the hospitality industry, developing globally competitive Filipino hoteliers, and consumer behavior and brand management in the digital age.

“We look forward to hosting this exciting summit to equip our sales and marketing leaders with the skills required to manage the demands of our constantly changing [hotel] industry,” Ms. So said.   

“As we continue on our road to recovery, it is through these kinds of events that we can gain critical insights to improve our travel, tourism, and hospitality as a whole and make it more competitive,” she added.   

HSMA, established in 1979, is an organization representing hotel sales and marketing leaders.

#Hotel #occupancy #rise #ahead #holidays #tourism #group

Shares rise on dovish Fed bets ahead of CPI data

PHILIPPINE STOCKS went up on Monday, tracking US shares’ rise, on bets that the US Federal Reserve is done hiking rates and as investors await the release of August Philippine inflation data.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 33.62 points or 0.54% to close at 6,214.68 on Monday, while the broader all shares index rose by 14.47 points or 0.43% to end at 3,356.44.

“This increase was attributed to positive cues from Wall Street last Friday, where higher unemployment rates provided investors with optimism that the Federal Reserve might consider pausing its monetary tightening measures in response to the data,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message.

US stock indexes settled for a mixed close after a US jobs report showed an uptick in unemployment, cementing expectations that the Fed will let interest rates stand at its September meeting, Reuters reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 115.80 points or 0.33% to 34,837.71; the S&P 500 gained 8.11 points or 0.18% to 4,515.77; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.15 points or 0.02% to 14,031.81.

The Labor department’s payrolls report showed the US economy added more jobs than expected last month, but the rising unemployment and participation rates, along with a welcome cool-down in average hourly wage growth, solidified expectations that the Fed will let key interest rates stand this month.

“Philippine shares were bought up ahead of the local CPI (consumer price index) [on Tuesday], and as others started taking positions with the week ahead,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

A BusinessWorld poll of 18 analysts yielded a median estimate of 4.9% for August headline inflation, near the lower end of the central bank’s 4.8% to 5.6% forecast for the month.

If realized, this would be faster than the 4.7% print in July, but lower than the 6.3% seen in August 2022.

It would mark the 17th straight month of inflation exceeding the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ 2-4% target for the year.

Sectoral indices rose on Monday except for financials, which dropped by 3.07 points or 0.16% to 1,833.81.

Meanwhile, property rose by 37.70 points or 1.46% to 2,604.86; mining and oil went up by 136.43 points or 1.36% to 10,132.72; holding firms increased by 41.86 points or 0.71% to 5,910.55; services gained 4 points or 0.26% to end at 1,507.30; and industrials climbed by 23.13 points or 0.26% to 8,759.89.

Value turnover went down to P11.32 billion on Monday with 2.30 million shares changing hands from the P11.51 billion with 2.11 million issues seen on Friday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 94 to 82, while 42 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling went down to P1.20 billion on Monday from P5.69 billion on Friday. — SJT with Reuters

#Shares #rise #dovish #Fed #bets #ahead #CPI #data

Stephen Loman stays focused ahead of Lineker showdown

Stephen Loman stays focused ahead of Lineker showdown

BAGUIO CITY — Even with his seniors leaving Team Lakay, Stephen Loman remains in high morale as he gear’s up against former world champion John Lineker in their bantamweight showdown in One Championship One Fight Night 14 on Sept. 29 in Singapore.

Mr. Loman has been in rogorous training with Team Lakay for the past months where he was anticipating a title showdown with Fabricio Andrade.

It will be no surprise if Mr. Loman hurdles Mr. Linecker, a known knock-out artist with 18 of his 36 bouts coming via stoppage while having 10 defeats.

Mr. Loman said Team Lakay has been crafting a game plan that would counter Lineker’s punching abilities.

“We have to mixed it up against Mr. Lineker. When it comes to ground game thats my advantage but we can also mix it up sa striking,” added Mr. Loman who currently holds a record of 16–2 win-loss card and is currently undefeated in his last 11 bouts since falling to Rex De Lara in 2016.

Mr. Loman will also ride high on his recent victory against another world champion, Bibiano Fernandes in his last outing that grabbed the attention of Mr. Andrade for a possible title match.

It will be a fascinating clash of styles as Mr. Loman’s technical striking and precision will be pitted against Mr. Lineker’s raw power and aggression.

Mr. Loman, a former PXC and Brave CF champion, is renowned for his pinpoint striking, powerful kicks, and a relentless pace that leaves his opponents gasping for breath while Lineker, a Brazilian bruiser is known for his exceptional knockout power and granite chin.

With ONE Championship’s bantamweight division stacked with top talent, a victory for either Loman or Lineker could catapult them into title contention as both fighters are well aware of the stakes, and the hunger to secure a title shot will undoubtedly add an extra layer of intensity to this clash. — Artemio A. Dumlao

#Stephen #Loman #stays #focused #ahead #Lineker #showdown