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Peso weakens vs dollar

The peso on Friday depreciated further against the dollar on weak economic data after lower flows and higher bad loans.

The currency closed at P48.07 a dollar on Friday, 0.5 centavo weaker than a day earlier, according to data posted on the Bankers Association of the Philippines website.

The peso opened the session at P48.08 a dollar, weakening to as much as P48.085 and peaking at P48.055 againsssts the greenback.

The total volume of dollars traded roes to $540.85 million from $498.1 million on Thursday.

Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., traced the weak performance to data showing foreign direct investments (FDI) had eased further, while banks reported higher bad loans.

“Offsetting positive factors for the peso are the expected seasonal surge in overseas Filipino workers’ remittances and conversion to pesos shortly before Christmas, narrower trade deficit data, weak US dollar versus major global currencies among 2.5-year lows recently,” he said in a Viber message.

FDI net inflows to the Philippines dropped by 12.3% from a year earlier to $523 million in September, according to the central bank. This was also 17% lower than $637 million in August.

The gross bad loan ratio rose to 3.69% as of end-October from 3.47% a month earlier and 2.2% a year ago. The ratio of soured loans was the highest since 2013.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects the bad loan ratio to rise to 4.6% by year-end. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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