Peso climbs on PHL stock market’s gains

THE PESO strengthened against the greenback on Monday following the stock market’s climb and signals of more inclusive policies in the United States to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The local unit closed at P48.079 per dollar, appreciating by 0.6 centavo from its P48.085 finish on Friday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened the session at P48.07 per dollar. Its weakest was at P48.085 while its strongest showing was at P48.05 against the greenback.

Dollars traded declined to $763.05 million on Monday from $1.09 billion on Friday.

The peso was backed by the local stock market’s gains, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 25.67 points or 0.36% to close at 7,071.50 on Monday.

Meanwhile, a trader said the market was bullish on the policies of the new US administration.

“The peso appreciated as investors cheered after President Biden remarked about his initiative to put the US back into the global community, which was a departure from his predecessor’s stance,” the trader said in an e-mail.

The US COVID-19 strategy revealed late last week shows the administration of US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has been taking steps to help poorer countries secure vaccines and securing more funding through legislation meant for international efforts, Reuters reported.

“The Biden-Harris administration will seek funding from Congress to strengthen and sustain these efforts, as well as other existing multilateral initiatives involved in fighting COVID-19,” according to the strategy.

Mr. Ricafort expects the peso to move within the P48.04 to P48.09 band on Tuesday while the trader gave a forecast range of P48.00 to P48.10 per dollar. — L.W.T. Noble with Reuters

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