The Philippine Stock Exchange building (PSE Plaza), Ayala Land’s Tower One, in Makati, a suburb of the capital Manila. Image Credit: Reuters

The Philippine Stock Exchange expects the number of initial public offerings to double in 2024, after a sluggish year that saw more delistings than debuts.

The bourse sees six companies going public this year starting with Citicore Renewable Energy Corp., President Ramon Monzon said in a statement. The exchange recorded three IPOs last year "- far below its target of 14 "- while four companies voluntarily delisted.

PSE forecasts 175 billion pesos ($3.16 billion) worth of capital to be raised through the exchange, around 40 billion pesos of which will come from IPOs, Monzon said. Capital raised amounted to 140.95 billion pesos last year, up 27.8% from 2022.

"The expected improvement in macroeconomic indicators are poised to drive market conditions in 2024," Monzon said, citing the growing domestic economy and slowing inflation.

Manila's benchmark index may reach a range of 6,800 to 8,300 points, Monzon said, citing analysts' projections. The index settled at 6,450.04 last year, down 1.8% from 2022. The outlook comes on the back of expected rate cuts by the US and Philippine central banks, and increased infrastructure spending, he said.

To boost trading activity, Monzon said the PSE will push for regulatory reforms to cut the stock transaction tax to 0.1% from 0.6%, and the dividend tax on non-residents to 10% from 25%.

The bourse also plans to pursue initiatives such as lowering the minimum investment to buy stocks, algorithmic trading and volume-weighted average price or VWAP trading, according to Monzon.