Peso climbs on better labor data

THE PESO strengthened against the dollar on Monday on the back of better labor data.

The local currency closed at P55.25 versus the dollar on Monday, strengthening by five centavos from Friday’s P55.30 finish, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines’ website showed.

The peso opened Monday’s session at P55.40 per dollar, which was also its worst showing for the day. Its intraday best was at P55.22 versus the greenback.

Dollars traded fell to $989.15 million on Monday from the $1.289 billion recorded on Friday.

The peso climbed amid improved employment data, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

“The peso appreciated from local optimism following the lower unemployment rate for March 2023 reported today,” a trader likewise said in an e-mail.

The unemployment rate eased to 4.7% in March, down from 4.8% in February and 5.8% in March last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Monday.

This translated to 2.42 million jobless Filipinos in March, lower than the 2.48 million a month earlier and 2.88 million in March 2022.

The peso strengthened as the dollar weakened against other major currencies, Mr. Ricafort added.

The dollar began the week under pressure on Monday, with traders betting it might have peaked along with US interest rates while keeping a wary eye on looming inflation and loans data, Reuters reported.

The dollar index, which tracks the unit against six major peers, was down 0.2% at 101.11. Last month’s 100.78 was its lowest in a year.

For Tuesday, the peso may continue to rise as latest Philippine trade data will be due for release, the trader said.

The trader sees the peso moving between P55.10 and P55.35 per dollar, while Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P55.15 to P55.35. — AMCS with Reuters