THE PESO weakened versus the greenback on Wednesday following the release of data showing weak manufacturing activity and the country’s rising debt stock. 

The local unit closed at P50.07 per dollar yesterday, shedding 31 centavos from its P49.76 finish on Tuesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed. 

The peso opened Wednesday’s session at P49.73 against the dollar. Its weakest showing was its close of P50.07, while its intraday best was at P49.73 versus the greenback. 

Dollars exchanged climbed to $1.054 billion on Wednesday from $848.73 million on Tuesday. 

The peso dropped against the dollar due to data showing manufacturing activity contracted in August, a trader said. 

The Philippine Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 46.4 in August from 50.4 in July, IHS Markit said on Wednesday. This was below the 50 neutral mark that separates expansion from contraction and was the lowest reading since the 40.1 in May 2020. 

IHS Markit attributed the drop in the index to the impact of the two-week lockdown in August, which forced the closure of factories and businesses. 

The continued rise in the country’s debt stock also affected peso-dollar trading, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said. 

The country’s outstanding debt jumped 26.7% to P11.61 trillion from a year earlier as of end-July, based on data from the Bureau of the Treasury released on Tuesday. It also rose by 4% from June. 

For Thursday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P49.95 to 50.15 per dollar, while the trader expects the local unit to move within the P50 to P50.25 range. — LWTN