Peso slightly strengthens vs dollar, touches P51 level

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THE PESO slightly strengthened against the dollar on Tuesday, touching the P51 level intraday, due to weaker-than-expected jobs data in the United States.

The local currency ended yesterday’s session at P52 against the dollar, two centavos stronger than the P52.02-per-greenback finish on Friday.

The peso moved sideways for most of the day, opening the session stronger at P52.015 against the dollar. Its intraday low was at P52.03, while its best showing stood at P51.96 versus the US currency.

Dollars traded slid to $570.64 million from the $645.8 million recorded on Friday.

“Foreign exchange tradings were also quiet everywhere else, so I feel like there’s nothing to go on,” a trader said in a phone interview.

Meanwhile, another trader attributed the slightly stronger peso to the weak US nonfarm payroll data which were released last Friday.

“Peso gained strength today following the release of weaker-than-expected US non-farm payrolls data last Friday,” another trader said in an e-mail.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US created 103,000 jobs in March, well below the 193,000 market expectations as well as the 326,000 nonfarm payrolls reported in February.

The jobless rate stayed at 4.1% last month, below the market expectations that it will go down to 4%.

Meanwhile, a third trader said the weaker dollar was due to the renewed concerns over the trade war between US and China.

Reuters reported Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to open the country’s economy further and lower import tariffs on products including cars, as he attempted to defuse a growing trade dispute with the United States.

For today, the third trader sees the peso to move between P51.90 and P52.15, while the second trader gave a wider range of P51.80 to P52.20.

“The local currency is expected move sideways, with an upward bias, as investors will closely monitor the local trade balance data and inflation figures of US and China [today],” the second trader noted. — K.A.N. Vidal