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Peso weakens as COVID-19 case tally climbs

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THE PESO retreated against the greenback on Wednesday amid cautious sentiment due to the continued increase in new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections.

The local unit closed at P48.60 per dollar yesterday, depreciating by 13 centavos from its P48.48 finish on Tuesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso started Wednesday’s trading session at P48.45 against the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P48.69 while its intraday best was at P48.43 versus the greenback.

Dollars that changed hands increased to $1.015 billion from $890.25 million on Tuesday.

Risk-off sentiment amid rising infection cases likely caused the peso’s weakness on Wednesday, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

The Department of Health reported 2,886 new patients on Wednesday, bringing the country’s tally to 603,308. Active cases reached 44,470 while deaths hit 12,545. With infections rising, more barangays have been put under localized lockdowns to contain the virus spread.

Meanwhile, a trader attributed the peso’s depreciation versus the dollar to cautiousness ahead of the release of US inflation data.

“The local currency might appreciate should US bond rates increase from the consumer inflation report,” the trader said in an email.

Mr. Ricafort expects the local unit to move within the P48.55 to P48.65 levels on Thursday while the trader gave a forecast range of P48.50 to P48.70 per dollar. — L.W.T. Noble

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