THE PESO weakened on Thursday as Russia invaded Ukrainian cities, causing oil prices to increase.

The local unit closed at P51.34 per dollar on Thursday, weaker by 24 centavos from its P51.10 finish on Wednesday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened Thursday’s session weaker from its Wednesday close at P51.18 per dollar. Its weakest showing was at P51.44, while its intraday best was at P51.17 against the greenback.

Dollars exchanged increased to $1.16 billion on Thursday from $934.2 million on Wednesday.

The peso dropped after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, a trader said.

Reuters reported Thursday that Russian forces have landed their troops and fired missiles in Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter said Mr. Putin’s action is a “full-scale invasion of Ukraine”. He said Ukraine will defend itself and asked the world to help stop Mr. Putin.

This escalated tensions, and its impact on oil prices also affected the peso, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

Global crude prices surged on Thursday, with Brent surpassing $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, after Russia attacked Ukraine and caused concerns on supply disruptions.

Brent crude surged to as much as $103.78 a barrel, the highest since Aug. 14, 2014, and was at $103.18 a barrel at 0830 GMT, up $6.34 or 6.5%.

Philippine financial markets are closed on Friday, Feb. 25 for a special non-working day in commemoration of the People Power Revolution anniversary. — L.W.T. Noble with Reuters