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Peso little changed after Monetary Board meeting

The peso closed little changed Friday after the Monetary Board kept benchmark interest rates steady at record lows.

The peso closed at P48.49, against its P48.58 finish Thursday, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The currency strengthened from its week-earlier close of P48.62.

The peso opened the Friday ession at P48.55. Its low was P48.585 while its high was P48.48.

Dollar trading volume rose to $740.8 million from $691.29 million a day earlier.

“The peso was nearly unchanged after the BSP decided to keep its policy rates unchanged during its meeting this week,” a trader said via e-mail.

In its second policy-setting meeting on Thursday, the Monetary Board kept the overnight reverse repurchase rate at an all-time low of 2%, in line with the expectations of 19 economists polled by BusinessWorld last week. Rates for the overnight lending and deposit facilities were also maintained at 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively.

The peso hit its strongest level in two weeks Friday as investors awaited the signing of a bill that will lower the corporate income tax rate, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill, which also aims to streamline fiscal incentives, is now awaiting President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signature. If left unsigned, the bill will lapse into law on March 27.

“The peso was also stronger ahead of the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccine shots: one million from Sinovac and 979,200 from AstraZeneca,” Mr. Ricafort added.

The expected increase in remittances from overseas Filipino workers ahead of the Easter holidays may have supported the peso as well, he said. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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