Peso retreats to P51:$1 level as outlook dims due to fresh surge in cases

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THE PESO dropped to the P51-per-dollar level on Monday due to dimmer recovery prospects amid tighter restrictions in Manila and the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

The local unit closed at P51 versus the dollar on Monday, the first trading day for 2022, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines. It barely moved from its P50.999 close on Friday.

The peso opened Monday’s session slightly stronger at P50.97 per dollar. Its weakest showing was at its close of P51, while its intraday best was at P50.95 against the greenback.

Dollars exchanged inched up to $588.7 million on Monday from $586.35 million on Friday.

“The peso reverted to the P51-per-dollar level as local participants remained cautious over dampened economic prospects brought by…Typhoon Odette and the reimposition of tighter restrictions in NCR until Jan. 15,” a trader said in an e-mail.

The National Capital Region (NCR) is under Alert Level 3 from Jan. 3 to Jan. 15 as coronavirus cases and the positivity rate saw a rapid uptick amid the holidays.

The Department of Health on Monday said the entire country is again at “high risk” for the coronavirus disease 2019.

Active cases on Monday rose by 4,084 to 24,992. The positivity rate stood at 20.7%.

Investors also factored in the decline in the local stock market, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message. The Philippine Stock Exchange index on Monday shed 81.36 points or 1.14% to end at 7,041.27.

For Tuesday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P50.88 to P51, while the trader expects the local unit to move within P50.90 to P51 per dollar. — L.W.T. Noble