THE PESO strengthened versus the greenback on Wednesday due to upbeat market sentiment on higher foreign direct investments (FDIs) and the decline in global oil prices.

The local unit closed at P52.275 per dollar on Wednesday, gaining 9.5 centavos from its P52.37 finish on Tuesday, based on Bankers Association of the Philippines data.

The peso opened Wednesday’s session at P52.32. Its weakest showing was at P52.35, while its intraday best was at P52.222.

Dollars exchanged increased to $898.9 million on Wednesday from $691.6 million on Tuesday.

The peso appreciated due to bullish sentiment on higher FDI flows, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

Foreign direct investments increased by 46.3% to $893 million in February from a year earlier. Analysts said market sentiment improved as infections declined.

This brought the cumulative FDI inflows to $1.7 billion in the first two months of 2022, up by 8% compared with the same period of 2021.

Meanwhile, a trader in a Viber message said the peso strengthened due to expectations of upbeat first-quarter growth.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will report the gross domestic product data for the January-to-March period on Thursday.

A BusinessWorld poll of 17 analysts yielded a median estimate of 6.7% economic growth for the first quarter, which will mark the fourth straight quarter of GDP expansion. If realized, this would be slower than the 7.8% growth in the fourth quarter of 2021 but still a turnaround from the 3.8% decline in the same three months last year.

For Thursday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P52.18 to P52.35, while the trader expects the local unit to move within P52.15 to P52.35. — Luz Wendy T. Noble