Business & Economy

Jitters over Hanjin debt lead PH shares lower

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Jitters over the $412-million debt owed by bankrupt Korean shipbuilder Hanjin to big Philippine banks soured sentiment at the stock market on Friday, spoiling an attempt by the local stock barometer to return to the 8,000 mark.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 81.14 points, or 1.02 percent, to close at 7,904.09, bucking mostly upbeat regional markets, as investors sold down shares of big local banks with loan exposure to Hanjin.

The day’s most actively traded company was Metrobank, which fell by 4.84 percent, while BPI slid by 4.76 percent.

Metrobank has a reported loan exposure of $72 million while BPI has about $60 million.

BDO—which has a reported exposure of about $60 million—fell by as much as 1.75 percent in intraday trade but stabilized at close. It ended flat on Friday. “We have an exposure to Hanjin and we were more than adequately provided for potential losses,” BDO president Nestor Tan said on Friday.

Worst hit among Hanjin’s creditors was RCBC, which slid by 9.12 percent on Friday.

RCBC, which is not part of the PSEi, has the biggest exposure to Hanjin amounting to $140 million.

On Friday, it was also reported that RCBC’s former Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito was convicted by the Makati Regional Trial Court of money laundering in connection with the $81-million Bangladesh Bank cyberheist in 2016.

At $412 million, the Hanjin corporate debt default is seen as the biggest corporate bankruptcy to affect Philippine banks in recent history.

Four out of five banks exoposed to Hanjin are listed on the local stock exchange.

Another creditor, the state-owned Landbank which has a $80-million exposure, is not publicly listed.

The financial counter thus declined by 2.54 percent. The property counter also fell by 1.16 percent.

Local stock brokerage Papa Securities said negative sentiment on the “big three”—referring to the three banks that are part of the PSEi—could be a “catalyst” for a bearish divergence, given that buying momentum was already slowing in previous days.

Meanwhile, the holding firm, services and mining/oil counters also slipped.

Only the industrial counter was a tad higher for the day.

Value turnover at the stock market amounted to P8.5 billion. Despite the sell down on big banks, foreigners were in a net buying position amounting to P228.9 million.

There were 125 decliners that edged out 79 advancers, while 37 stocks were unchanged.

Aside from the banks, conglomerates Ayala Corp. and GT Capital also fell by over 2 percent, likewise dragged down by sentiment on their respective banking units, BPI and Metrobank.

Meanwhile, PLDT lost 2.35 percent, while Ayala Land, SM Prime Holdings, Security Bank and Puregold also slipped by over 1 percent. ICTSI also slipped.

On the other hand, URC gained 1.79 percent, while its parent conglomerate JG Summit added 1.57 percent.

AGI, Metro Pacific and Jollibee also firmed up. (inquirer.net)

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