SHARES advanced on Monday ahead of the release of the March inflation report and as hot money net inflows grew in February.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed by 10.33 points or 0.14% to close at 7,163.21 on Monday, while the broader all shares grew by 8.95 points or 0.23% to 3,797.54.

“Philippine shares were slowly bought up as investors speculated on the latest inflation print that will be released tomorrow, while other recent economic data painted a better picture of the economy,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

Foreign portfolio investments, also called hot money because of the ease by which these funds enter and exit the economy, yielded a $274-million net inflow in February, up from the $14.6 million recorded the previous month and a turnaround from the $40.4-million net outflow seen in the same month in 2021, central bank data released on Friday showed.

Meanwhile, analysts said headline inflation likely accelerated in March as the surge in global oil prices amid the Russia-Ukraine war caused faster increases in food and transport costs.

A BusinessWorld poll of 18 analysts yielded a median estimate of 4% for last month’s inflation, nearer the upper end of the central bank’s 3.3% to 4.1% projection.

If realized, this would be faster than the 3% in February and would match the upper end of the 2-4% target of the BSP. Still, it would be slower than the 4.5% seen a year earlier.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will release March inflation data on Tuesday.

“Helping in Monday’s climb is the anticipated decline in fuel prices, which in turn tempers inflation expectations,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

Fuel companies said pump prices will be rolled back on Tuesday, with Cleanfuel, Petro Gazz, Pilipinas Shell, and Seaoil announcing a decrease of P2.30 per liter for gasoline and P1.85 per liter for diesel.

Most sectoral indices ended in the green except for holding firms, which retreated by 18.47 points or 0.27% to 6,810.15.

Meanwhile, mining and oil soared by 177.62 points or 1.43% to end at 12,557.48; industrials added 80.87 points or 0.83% to 9,824.33; property went up by 24.13 points or 0.72% to 3,333.58; services improved by 2.33 points or 0.12% to 1,941.40; and financials inched up by a point or 0.05% to end at 1,684.76.

Value turnover went down to P3.87 billion with 1.33 billion shares changing hands from the P5.40 billion with 15.20 billion issues seen on Friday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 96 versus 83, while 56 names were unchanged.

Foreigners turned net buyers with P202.58 million versus the P683.69 million in net selling seen on Friday. — R.C.S. Agustin