PHILIPPINE SHARES rebounded on Thursday amid expectations of better inflation data for December.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 103.64 points or 1.59% to end at 6,602.52 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index rose 35.52 points or 1.02% to close at 3,485.76.

“This Thursday, the local market rose by 103.64 points to 6,602.52 on the back of hopes that headline inflation in the Philippines had further declined last December. Supporting the said hopes is the midpoint of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 3.6-4.4% range forecast which is below the preceding month’s 4.1%,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research and Engagement Officer Mikhail Philippe Q. Plopenio said in a Viber message.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will release December consumer price index data on Friday.

A BusinessWorld poll last week yielded a median estimate of 4% for December headline inflation, within the BSP’s 3.6-4.4% forecast for the month. This is slightly slower than the 4.1% in November but significantly below the 8.1% in December 2022.

If realized, December could mark the first time that inflation met the central bank’s 2-4% target after 20 straight months. It would also be the slowest since the 3% print in February 2022.

This would bring the 2023 inflation average to 6%, matching the BSP’s baseline forecast.

“The index surged above the 6,600 level and reached its highest close in more than five months as investors positioned ahead of the release of the Philippine December inflation print on Friday,” China Bank Capital Corp. Managing Director Juan Paolo E. Colet likewise said in a Viber message.

“The PSEi bucked the fall of most Asian markets as traders bought up local stocks on expectations that domestic headline inflation last month cooled to 4%, which is within the BSP’s target inflation range,” Mr. Colet added.

Asian shares fell on Thursday as traders dialed back bets of steep and early rate cuts this year, with the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s last meeting providing few clues on when US cuts might start, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.17% and was headed for the third straight day of losses.

Back home, almost all sectoral indices ended higher on Thursday. Property increased by 78.36 points or 2.77% to 2,907.31; financials climbed by 30.76 points or 1.78% to 1,754.47; services rose by 25.86 points or 1.59% to 1,651.63; holding firms went up by 71.46 points or 1.13% to 6,360.48; and industrials added 33.14 points or 0.36% to end at 9,137.63. 

Meanwhile, mining and oil dropped by 77.40 points or 0.78% to 9,777.89. 

Value turnover climbed to P5.18 billion on Thursday with 461.64 million issues changing hands from the P3.11 billion with 182.7 million shares seen on Wednesday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 110 to 85, while 46 issues ended unchanged. 

Net foreign buying stood at P768.3 million on Thursday versus the P260.5 million in net selling seen the prior day. — R.M.D. Ochave with Reuters