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Peso climbs on Fitch move

THE PESO strengthened against the greenback on Tuesday, fueled by positive market sentiment on the affirmation of the country’s credit rating as well as progress on some vaccine deals.

The local unit ended trading at P48.051 versus the dollar yesterday, gaining 4.90 centavos from its Monday close of P48.10, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened Tuesday’s session stronger at P48.08 per dollar. Its weakest point was at P48.09 while its intraday best was logged at P48.045 against the greenback.

Dollars traded inched up to $476.25 million on Tuesday from the $451.2 million seen on Monday.

“The peso strengthened after Fitch Ratings maintained its sovereign credit rating and outlook for the Philippines despite the ongoing pandemic,” a trader said in an email.

Fitch on Monday affirmed the country’s investment grade “BBB” rating with a stable outlook as government debt levels remained moderate and growth prospects are likely to be sustained even amid the pandemic.

The stable outlook means the sovereign rating may be kept in the next 18 to 24 months.

Deals to secure vaccines versus the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) also supported sentiment, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

“Progress on various COVID-19 vaccine supply deals for the Philippines lately also supported market sentiment on the peso,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.

National Government officials said 50,000 doses from Sinovac will be delivered by February. On Sunday, vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. also inked a deal with the Serum Institute of India for 30 million doses of Covovax.

Local government units in the National Capital Region have also secured doses of vaccines.

For today, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P48.03 to P48.08 per dollar while the trader expects the local unit to move within a wider band of P48 to P48.20. — LWTN

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