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Peso retreats to P49:$1 level on local manufacturing data, virus concerns

THE PESO sank to its worst close versus the dollar in nearly a year. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE PESO retreated to the P49-per-dollar level on Thursday to log its weakest close in nearly a year as hopes for a further reopening of the economy boosted demand for the greenback and amid continued worries over the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The local unit closed at P49.11 versus the dollar on Thursday, shedding 31 centavos from its P48.80 finish on Wednesday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines. This is the peso’s weakest close since its P49.15-per-dollar finish on July 30, 2020.

The peso started Thursday’s trading session at P48.90 per dollar, which was also its intraday best. Meanwhile, its weakest showing was at P49.13 against the greenback.

Dollars exchanged climbed to $1.348 billion from $1.105 billion on Wednesday.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort attributed the peso’s weakness to the improvement in local manufacturing data, which boosted demand for the dollar.

“This could suggest further reopening of the economy as well as pickup in importation,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.

The IHS Markit Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index in June stood at 50.8, going beyond the 50 neutral mark that separates contraction from expansion. The reading was at 49.9 in May.

Meanwhile, a trader attributed the peso’s weakness to lingering concerns over the impact of the Delta variant of COVID-19 on the global economy.

For Friday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P48.95 to P49.20 per dollar, while the trader expects the local unit to move within a weaker band of P49 to P49.20. — LWTN

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