THE PESO strengthened versus the greenback on Tuesday following strong remittance data.

The local unit closed at P52.425 on Tuesday, appreciating by 6.8 centavos from its P52.493 close on Monday, based on Bankers Association of the Philippines data.

The peso opened Tuesday’s session at P52.45 versus the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P52.48, while its intraday best was at P52.41 against the greenback.

Dollars exchanged increased to $843.1 million on Tuesday from $549.84 million on Monday.

The peso strengthened following the release of data on March remittances, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos increased by 3.2% to $2.59 billion in March from a year earlier, central bank data released on Monday showed.

This brought inflows for the first quarter to $7.77 billion, up by 2.4% from the same period of 2021. The central bank expects remittances to grow by 4% this year.

Meanwhile, a trader in an e-mail said the peso appreciated due to growing market expectations of a rate hike amid inflation concerns.

Eight out of 17 analysts in a BusinessWorld poll last week expect the central bank to start increasing interest rates given the stronger growth in the first quarter, which could put upward pressure on inflation.

The Department of Labor and Employment this Saturday approved a P33 increase for the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila and by P55 to P110 for the Western Visayas Region. Wage and fare hikes are among the factors the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said it will monitor for possible second-round inflation effects.

For Wednesday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P52.35 to P52.50 per dollar, while the trader expects the local unit to move within P52.30 to P52.50. — L.W.T Noble