THE PESO climbed to a new seven-month high against the dollar on Thursday as the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) growth was above target in 2022.

The local currency closed at P54.40 versus the greenback on Thursday, rising by 23 centavos from Wednesday’s P54.63 finish, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

This is the peso’s best close in over seven months or since it finished at P54.265 on June 21, 2022.

The peso opened Thursday’s trading session at P54.50 per dollar. Its weakest showing was at P54.58 while its intraday best was at P54.39 against the greenback.

Dollars traded dropped to $730 million from $1.02 billion on Wednesday.

The peso was supported by data showing strong GDP growth in 2022, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

“The peso appreciated after the full-year Philippine economic growth for 2022 was reported at 7.6%, surpassing the government’s target of 6.5%-7.5%,” a trader likewise said in an e-mail.

The 2022 GDP growth print was the best annual performance since 1976. It was faster than the 5.7% in 2021 as well as the 7.5% median estimate of 23 economists in a BusinessWorld poll last week.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, the economy expanded by 7.2%, slower than the 7.6% in the third quarter and 7.8% in the same period a year earlier.

For Friday, the trader expects peso to appreciate further against the dollar on expectations of weaker US economic growth last quarter.

The trader sees the peso moving between P54.25 and P54.50, while Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P54.30 to P54.50 per dollar. — A.M.C. Sy