THE PESO declined against the dollar on fears over the virus. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE PESO weakened against the greenback on Tuesday as investors flocked towards safe-haven assets due to lingering concerns amid the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The local unit finished trading at P50.645 per dollar, depreciating by 7.5 centavos from its Monday close of P50.57, according to data from the website of the Bankers’ Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened the session at P50.53 versus the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P50.65, while its intraday best was at P50.57 against the greenback.

Dollars traded slipped to $933.9 million from the $971.5 million seen on Monday.

UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said there was risk-off sentiment in the market after Apple, Inc. voiced out worries regarding its first-quarter performance due to the virus’ spread.

“The market was cautious because of COVID-19 pathogens impact on global companies with with Apple saying that its quarterly sales would miss forecasts,” Mr. Asuncion said in a text message.

“Global corporate earnings and economic growth is now being weighed down by the actual impact of the virus outbreak,” he added.

“The peso continued to weaken from safe-haven demand on lingering coronavirus concerns and expectations of less dovish cues from [the US] Fed[eral Reserve] minutes this week,” a trader said in an e-mail.

Mr. Asuncion and the trader said the market will continue to watch developments in the COVID-19 outbreak and US data due for release on Wednesday.

For today, Mr. Asuncion sees the peso playing around the P50.50-P50.70 levels, while the trader expects the local unit to move within the P50.60-P50.80 band. — L.W.T. Noble