Peso slips on stock market losses, worries about virus


The PESO slipped on Wednesday due to stock market losses and the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country remained relatively high.

Local unit closed at P50.35 to the dollar yesterday, barely changed from P50.34 on Monday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

Exchanges were closed on Tuesday in preparation for Eid’l Adha. However, a Google search of the peso-dollar rate which showed the local unit strengthened to around P42 against the greenback, which Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno clarified was a “price feed error” that did not come from official sources such as the Bankers Association of the Philippines and Bloomberg.

“We highly doubt that there were any significant transactions processed at these rates as they would definitely be ‘off-market’ and subject to internal reviews of these platforms. Someone would be willing to trade at these off-market prices in using these apps may warrant further investigation, ”Mr. Diokno told reporters via Viber on Wednesday.

The peso opened Wednesday’s session at P50.35 to the dollar. Its weakest performance was at P50.41, while its best intraday was at P50.17 against the greenback.

The dollars traded reached $ 1.007 billion on Wednesday, from $ 810.99 million on Monday.

The peso weakened with the fall in local stocks, said the chief economist of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Michael L. Ricafort. The Philippine Stock Exchange index fell 110.99 points or 1.68% to close at 6,476.21 on Wednesday, while the larger all-stock index lost 53.55 points or 1.31% to end at 4,031.

Meanwhile, a trader attributed the decline in the peso to investor caution amid the country’s high number of COVID-19 cases.

Infections rose by 6,560 on Wednesday to bring the number of active cases to 47,996, the health department reported. The virus has already sickened 1.524 million in the country, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

For Thursday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P50.15 to P50.40 on the dollar, while the trader expects the local unit to move between P50.25 and P50.45. – LWT Noble

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