Shares open higher with investors on tax reform watch


Posted at Oct 09 2017 09:54 AM | Updated as of Oct 09 2017 10:01 AM

MANILA – Share prices opened higher on Monday, as investors awaited the Senate’s version of tax reform.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index was up 0.29 percent to 8,335.31 in early trading. The peso opened at P51.20 from P51.15 on Friday.

Tax reform is the “main issue” this week, the last full week of sessions before lawmakers go on break, said AB Capital Securities analyst Migs Lopez.

Lopez said investors were watching closely how the Senate would balance higher excise taxes on fuel and sugar-sweetened beverages with the reduction in income tax rates.

Tax reform will also be top of mind when businessmen gather for the 43rd Philippine Business Conference and Expo next week, organizers said.

The chairman of this year’s conference, Jose Leviste Jr., appealed to lawmakers to pass a bill that is close to the version of the Department of Finance’s.

“You water down tax reform, you are effectively watering down the build, build, build,” Leviste said, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte’s P8-trillion infrastructure program.

Tax reform will make the country “more attractive” to investors, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon said.

“That’s very important. The government really needs funding for education, for social services,” Barcelon said.