Philippine shares rise nearly 3 pct

Susan Mathew, Reuters

Posted at Oct 18 2016 08:53 PM

MANILA - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday on a weaker dollar, with Philippine shares closing nearly 3 percent higher as President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to China raised hopes of foreign investment inflows.

Duterte's visit to China on Tuesday, accompanied by at least 200 members of the Philippine business elite, is to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance, amid deteriorating ties with longtime ally the United States.

"We see some semblance of foreign buying given the notion that Duterte's government will bring in investment from foreign trips," said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Securities.

"If it's significant, the amount of dollars that could come in after those trips could help curtail the weakness of the peso."

Philippine shares closed 2.9 percent higher at 7,571.15, their biggest gain since May 11, driven by consumer cyclicals and financials. SM Investments Corp. and SM Prime Holdings were among the biggest gainers.

Asian shares extended gains, pulled higher by financials and a rebound in oil prices.

The dollar fell against a basket of six major currencies after recently strengthening as markets priced in expectations for a Federal Reserve rate increase in December, a growing headwind for emerging markets.

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said on Monday that economic stability could be threatened by low interest rates, but it was "not that simple" to raise rates.

"The dollar edging lower is a sigh of relief for Southeast Asian markets during times when the Fed has been so hawkish," said Taye Shim, an analyst with Daewoo Indonesia.

Ahead of the U.S. inflation data due later in the day, investors also evaluated whether the Fed will let inflation run above target before raising interest rates.

Malaysia and Indonesia rose 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent respectively, with Indonesia extending gains into a third straight session.