Peso rises as gov’t eases restrictions in Metro Manila

THE PESO climbed versus the greenback on Thursday as the government further eased restrictions and as the US Federal Reserve chief said the central bank will continue to support the world’s largest economy.

The local unit closed at P50.22 per dollar yesterday, gaining eight centavos from its P50.30 finish on Wednesday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened Thursday’s session at P50.23 against the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P50.42 while its intraday best was at P50.09 versus the greenback.

Dollars exchanged increased to $1.409 billion on Thursday from $1.173 billion on Wednesday.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort attributed the peso’s strength to the lifting of more restriction measures in Metro Manila.

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. on Thursday said Metro Manila will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 31 but eased some restrictions that were in place previously.

The Health department reported 5,221 new infections on Thursday to bring active cases to 45,495.

Meanwhile, a trader attributed the peso’s appreciation to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony to the US House of Representatives.

The US job market “is still a ways off” from the progress the Federal Reserve wants to see before reducing its support for the economy, while current high inflation will ease “in coming months,” Mr. Powell said in remarks prepared for delivery at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

For today, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P50.00 to P50.30 per dollar, while the trader expects the local unit to move within the 50.10 to 50.30 band. — LWTN with Reuters