THE PESO closed stronger Friday amid perceptions China has taken effective measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The currency closed at P50.83 against the Thursday finish of P50.96, according to data provided by the Bankers’ Association of the Philippines.

However, the peso fell week-on-week after finishing at P50.815 to the dollar on Jan. 24.

The currency opened at P50.93 against the dollar, its which weakest level for the day. The high was P50.82.

Dollar volume rose to $958.8 million from $948.5 million Thursday.

A trader said that the peso rose on dollar profit-taking.

“The peso strengthened today as market participants opted to take profits near the P51 level,” the trader said in an email.

Union Bank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak gave the market a boost.

“Investors can be seen as still weighing the potential short-term impact of the virus spread. However, (sentiment seemed to tilt) to positive with the WHO (World Health Organization) declaration including the commendation of China’s efforts to stop the disease,” he said in a text message.

China’s National Health Commission said confirmed coronavirus cases totaled 9,692 Thursday with deaths at 213, according to a report by Reuters.

On Thursday, the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

In a statement, WHO said that it welcomes China’s “commitment to transparency, and the efforts made to investigate and contain the current outbreak”.

In the Philippines, a 38-year old Chinese traveler from Wuhan has been confirmed as the country’s first coronavirus case by the Department of Health. — Luz Wendy T. Noble