Peso Improves Vs. USD Despite Luzon-Wide Community Quarantine

Peso Improves Vs. USD Despite Luzon-Wide Community Quarantine

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The Philippine peso ended Wednesday better than the US dollar after a one-day trading suspension amid worries on the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The local currency finished the day at 51.05 from its 51.5 close on Monday.

Financial market platforms suspended operations on Tuesday, the first day of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

The quarantine also provided for the suspension of classes and work, with some exemption, to limit people’s movement outside their homes and help arrest the global pandemic.

For the day, the peso opened at 51.8, weaker than its 51.25 start in the previous session.

It traded between 51.85 and 51.01, bringing the day’s average to 51.32.

Volume totaled to USD712.25 million, lower than the USD769.39 million last Monday.

ING Bank Manila economist Nicholas Mapa said he remains optimistic about the peso even as the government implements the quarantine.

Citing statements by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno, Mapa said the local currency continues to get a lift from remittances being sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Meanwhile, he projects a 50-basis-point cut in the BSP’s key policy rates on Thursday “in light of the impending economic hit from the virus and the community quarantine”.

“Inflation is now likely to fall in the lower end of the BSP’s inflation range, affording BSP proper scope to cut aggressively and release liquidity to support the financial system,” he added. (PNA)

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