Peso rises despite rising coronavirus cases

THE PESO climbed against the dollar on Friday despite growing concerns over the economic impact of the surge in coronavirus cases due to the Delta variant. 

The local currency strengthened by 18 centavos to close at P50.37 per dollar on Friday from its P50.55 finish on Thursday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines. 

The peso opened the session at P50.48 per dollar and climbed to as high as P50.30. Meanwhile, its weakest showing was at P50.54 versus the greenback. 

Dollars traded eased to $977.6 million on Friday from $1.084 billion the day prior. 

Week on week, the peso gained 11 centavos from its P50.48-per-dollar close on Aug. 13. 

“The peso strengthened as the local prospects for the greenback waned amid growing worries over the economic impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant,” a trader said via e-mail. 

Palace spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. on Friday said Metro Manila will now be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for the rest of the month starting Saturday. 

The Health department reported 17,231 new local coronavirus infections on Friday, the highest recorded so far, which brought the total number of active cases in the country to 123,251. 

Declining global oil prices also helped the peso inch up since this could temper the country’s import bills and demand for dollars, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said. 

Brent crude declined by 2.6%, or $1.78 to hit $66.45 per barrel on Thursday, amid the rising concerns over virus resurgence across economies, Reuters reported. — BML 

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