The Philippine stock market rallied to a new high on Friday after the government announced that the annual average inflation rate for 2012 was lower than the previous year\'s level. The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 0.63 percent, or 37.40 points, to 5,971.45, while the broader all-share index rose by 0.41 percent, or 15.55 points, to 3,778.43. Trading volume reached 1.62 billion shares worth 7.58 billion pesos (186.02 million U.S. dollars) with 98 stocks advancing, 67 declining, and 49 were unchanged. Of the six counters, only the industrial sector bucked the trend. \"The PSEi managed to avoid the general downtrend in Asia today, an encouraging sign for the sustainability of last year\'s impressive performance,\" PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Hans B. Sicat said. Sicat said these positive developments, including favorable inflation data, helped the local stock market to get off to a good start in 2013. The Philippine government reported that inflation rate in December was only at 2.9 percent, bringing the full year inflation rate to 3.2 percent, lower than average of 4.6 percent posted in 2011. The string of positive news, starting from the development related to the US fiscal cliff to the latest inflation data, propelled the Philippine equities to start 2013 by posting two successive record highs. Lead gainers were mostly blue chip stocks, led by property developer Megaworld Corp. which posted a gain of 6.25 percent on higher valuation outlook. Other issues that closed at a new highs were Metro Pacific Investments Corp., JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and Ayala Corp.