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PSEi slumps as trade deficit widens sharply

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PSE BGC bells

By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

SHARES slumped on Friday, as the statistics office reported the Philippines’ trade deficit widened to a four-month high in April.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell back from the 7,800 level, dropping 0.80% or 62.57 points to finish at 7,740.74. The broader all shares index also went down 0.72% or 33.76 points to 4,690.10.

“Philippine markets traded lower on choppy trading from the region and the widening trade gap data that was just released this morning,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Friday that the country’s trade gap widened to $3.62 billion in April, more than twice the $1.55 billion deficit seen in the same month in 2017.

Exports fell 8.5% to $5.11 billion in April, its fourth consecutive month of decline. Meanwhile, total imports jumped 22.2% to $8.73 billion during the period.

Most Asian markets as investors once again turned cautious amid rising trade concerns between the United States and China. Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.56% to 22,694.50, breaking its four-day winning streak Korea’s KOSPI index also fell 0.77% to 2,451.58, while MSCI’s index of shares in the Asia Pacific ex-Japan also slowed by 1.31%.

Meanwhile, Wall Street ended mixed on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 0.38% or 95.02 points to 25,241.41. The S&P 500 index went down by 0.07% or 1.98 points to 2,770.37, while the Nasdaq Composite index declined by 0.7% or 54.17 points to 7,635.07.

“The US market declined yesterday as traders were cautious as leaders of the Group of Seven Nations kicked off a summit in Canada…although the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 95 points or 0.4%…with about two-thirds of the blue-chip companies finishing higher,” Mr. Limlingan said.

The G7 summit involves leaders of Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The two-day summit is scheduled for June 8-9 in Canada, yet it has already dampened investor sentiment due to US President Donald J. Trump’s pronouncements against Europe and Canada.

Back home, the services counter was the lone sub-index that ended in positive territory, rising 0.21% or 3.17 points to 1,502.77.

Property shed 1.14% or 43.70 points to 3,804.22, followed by holding firms that went down 1.12% or 87.10 points to 7,664.86. Financials gave up 0.86% or 16.60 points to 1,925.89, while mining and oil fell 0.48% or 48.88 points to 10,195.13. Industrial ended 0.07% or 7.80 points lower to 10,865.40.

Some 826.82 million issues switched hands, resulting to a value turnover of P5.28 billion, slowing down from the previous session’s P6.93 billion.

Decliners outpaced advancers, 116 to 83, while 41 issues remained unchanged.

Foreign investors maintained their selling mode, with net outflows climbing to P671.65 million, higher than Thursday’s P486.83 million.