PHILIPPINE STOCKS declined anew on Thursday, with the main index falling below the 6,000 level intraday, before the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) announcement of an off-cycle rate hike.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 36.01 points or 0.59% to close at 6,018.49 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index dropped by 22.81 points or 0.69% to end at 3,266.02.

“The PSEi index ended in the red but managed to close above its support level of 6,000. The market briefly breached this level intraday as investors braced for today’s potential off-cycle rate hike that the BSP mentioned last Tuesday,” Unicapital Securities, Inc. Senior Equity Research Analyst Carlos Angelo O. Temporal said in a Viber message on Thursday.

The BSP late on Thursday raised benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) before a scheduled review as it seeks to anchor control inflation expectations, bringing its policy rate to 6.5%.

The move came ahead of the Monetary Board’s scheduled meeting on Nov. 16. BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said next month’s review will push through and another rate increase could be on the table as they will have new data to consider by then.

Thursday’s move was the first hike since March and brought total increases since May 2022 to 450 bps. The BSP held rates steady in its last four meetings before the hike.

“The index fell in today’s session as sentiment remained sour given the overnight weakness in offshore markets stemming from US yield and earnings woes. Further exacerbating this was investor caution ahead of US third quarter GDP (gross domestic product) data due out today, as well as prospects of an off-cycle rate hike from the BSP,” China Bank Securities Corp. Research Director Rastine Mackie D. Mercado said in an e-mail on Thursday.

All sectoral indices dropped on Thursday. Services fell by 13.36 points or 0.9% to 1,457.50; financials went down by 14.37 points or 0.83% to 1,709.08; mining and oil dropped by 66.74 points or 0.67% to 9,867.19; industrials declined by 57.54 points or 0.66% to 8,596.67; property sank by 15.82 points or 0.61% to 2,545.73; and holding firms decreased by 17.54 points or 0.3% to 5,798.39.

Value turnover went down to P3.06 billion on Thursday with 428.34 million shares changing hands from the P3.63 billion with 977.71 million issues seen on Wednesday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 115 versus 47, while 51 shares closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling stood at P319.07 million on Thursday versus the P20.08 million in net buying seen on Wednesday.

“Going forward, the market is likely to move sideways after retesting its key support level as investors await next catalysts… Market activity may remain anemic considering the long weekend and next week’s holidays,” Unicapital Securities’ Mr. Temporal said.

Philippine financial markets will be closed on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, and Nov. 2. — SJT with Reuters