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Peso inches higher as holiday season starts

THE PESO inched up versus the dollar on Tuesday as consumer spending is expected to increase with the start of the holiday season and on news of progress in the development of a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The peso closed at P48.05 against the dollar, inching up by one centavo from its P48.06 finish on Friday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed. The market was closed on Monday in observance of Bonifacio Day.

The peso opened Tuesday’s session at P48.11 against the greenback. Its intraday high was at P48.045 while its weakest showing was at P48.16 per dollar.

Dollars traded declined to $722.6 million on Tuesday from $783.4 million on Friday.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the peso strengthened versus the dollar as families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to spend more of their remittances during this holiday season.

“The financial markets are anticipating the seasonal increase in over OFW remittances and conversion to pesos for the Christmas spending season,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.

Meanwhile, a trader said the peso rose after Moderna, Inc. said it will apply for emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna said on Monday it has applied for US emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns.

The US Food and Drug Administration said an advisory committee would meet to discuss the request on Dec. 17, making Moderna’s candidate the second highly effective vaccine likely to receive US regulatory backing and a potential roll out this year.

A shot developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that was 95% effective in its pivotal trial is set to be reviewed by a panel of outside experts a week earlier. The FDA will decide on the emergency use authorizations after the advisers make their recommendations.

For today, Mr. Ricafort sees the peso moving from P48.02 to P48.12 versus the dollar while the trader expects it to range from P47.95 to P48.15. 

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