Thursday, March 6, 2014

Q&A: Can Foreigners Trade Stocks in the Philippines?

Cherry asks,

Can a foreigner have their stocks too in the Phils? My husband printed a form from COL and I might start with them as soon as I get back from the Philippines on March 3.


Yes! Non-Filipinos can definitely trade stocks. There are just some limitations but they may not concern you as much. One of the more obvious is the SEC rule on foreign ownership which limits foreigners' ownership of company shares to 40%. So unless your husband plans to take over a company in the Philippines, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Monday, February 24, 2014

MWC to be replaced by MER in Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi)

Effective March 17, 2014, PSEi will have a recomposition, Meralco (MER) will replace Manila Water Company (MWC) in the stock exchange index.

This is based on a memo released by the Philippine Stock Exchange. There's no specific reason stated in the memo why MWC was booted out. It just stated the general qualifications to be in the PSEi list:

1. Free float level >= 12%
2. Top 25% by median daily value / month for at least 9 / 12 months
3. Top 30 on full market cap (MCAP)

So I guess it's more of Meralco has beaten MWC with one of the criteria above.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Investing in Dollars

I'm just going to share what I did this January: As the stock and bond market are going sideways, I bought Dollars and put it in BDO Dollar money market fund. I do not encourage just following what I did, please do your research too until you are convinced with the risk you are taking.

Why did I invest in USD?
I am betting that the U.S. Dollar will appreciate in the next 2-3 years.

How can I say that the Dollar will appreciate?
- U.S. economy is starting to pick-up.
- Hot money in the Philippines is flowing out.
- BSP's low interest rate is not attractive to foreign investors.
- U.S. Gov't starts tapering its Quantitative Easing policy which means less USD will flow to emerging markets.

The above reasons do not guarantee that the Peso will continue to depreciate. There are many factors affecting forex and many strategies that BSP can employ to reverse the process of Peso depreciation; one of which is increasing the interest rate, in which in my opinion it will happen soon, probably this year. There's already a pressure to increase the interest rate because a lot of $ is flowing out of the country in the recent months.

I bought the Dollar then placed it in BDO's Dollar money market fund. Money market is a low risk type of fund thus the return is minimal, earning around ~1.5% in one year. Still, this is better than just putting it in a savings deposit.

Even if my bet is wrong, I'll just treat it as part of my savings. Unlike stocks, betting in a foreign currency is usually not as volatile.