THE PESO weakened on Friday due to appetite for the greenback following the release of a strong durable goods report in the United States.

The local currency closed at P52.18 against the US dollar on Friday, down four centavos from the previous day’s finish of P52.14.

The local currency opened the session weaker at P52.18 against the greenback and dropped to as low as P52.21 intraday. Meanwhile, its best showing for the session was logged at P52.09 per dollar.

Trading volume thinned to $787.81 million from the $961 million that switched hands in the previous day.

“The peso slightly weakened as US durable goods report for March 2019 came out stronger than market expectation which boosted appeal on the greenback,” a trader said in an email.

New orders for US-made capital goods increased by the most in eight months in March, hitting their highest level on record and brightening the outlook for manufacturing and the economy, Reuters reported.

The US Commerce Department said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, surged 1.3% to an all-time high of $70.0 billion, powered by a jump in demand for computers and electronic products.

In a separate report on Thursday, the US Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended April 20. The increase was the largest since early September 2017.

Meanwhile, Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist at UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc., said in a text message that the US dollar remained strong as the market waits for the release of US economic growth data for the first quarter.

“The US dollar was strong for the second week now as the market awaits Q1 US GDP (gross domestic product) data. Investors are still wary over the prospects of global expansion and the peso, like other emerging economies’ currencies, seem to be trending downward,” Mr. Asuncion said. — RJNI