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Peso to rise on US leadership change

THE PESO is seen climbing further against the greenback this week, with the market likely to be bullish amid the leadership change in the United States.

The local unit finished trading at P48.065 against the dollar on Friday, inching up from its P48.07 close on Thursday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

Week on week, it also appreciated by 2.3 centavos from its P48.088-per-dollar close on Jan. 8.

The peso strengthened on the back of the record high gross international reserve (GIR) level seen at end-2020, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message.

The country’s GIR stood at $109.8 billion at end-December, up by 4.8% from the $104.8 billion as of November and by 20% from $87.839 billion a year earlier, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas released Friday showed. This exceeded the BSP’s $105-billion projection.

For this week, the peso is likely to extend its gains with the upcoming inauguration of a Democrat-led US government that will likely help bring calm to the market, with prospects of bigger fiscal stimulus ahead, UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said in a text message.

US President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice-President-elect Kamala G. Harris will be sworn into office on Jan. 20. Mr. Biden last week announced a $1.9-trillion stimulus package meant to speed up the recovery of the world’s largest economy.

At home, the market will be monitoring progress on key legislation meant to provide relief to businesses amid the crisis, including the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE bill as well as the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer or FIST bill. Congress will resume its session today (Jan. 18).

For this week, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P48.02 to P48.12 per dollar, while Mr. Asuncion expects the peso to move within a slightly stronger range of P48 to P48.10. — L.W.T. Noble

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