THE PESO climbed to return to the P50-per-dollar level on Friday after the central bank cut rates as well as some profit-taking.

The local unit closed the session at P50.97 on Friday, climbing 13 centavos from its P51.10 per dollar finish on Thursday, according to the website of the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

However, it shed 33 centavos from its P50.64 close on March 13.

The peso opened at P51.15 per dollar on Friday. Its weakest showing was at P51.24, while its intraday best was at P50.75 against the greenback.

Dollars traded inched down to $576 million from $597.08 million on Thursday.

A trader said the peso rose on the back of profit-taking.

“The peso strengthened from profit-taking following the recent strength of the greenback during the week,” the trader said in an email.

Meanwhile, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said that the peso’s strength came after the 50-basis-point (bp) rate cut and some regulatory relief from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“The peso closed stronger after the cut in local policy rates alongside regulatory relief measures, which support sentiment on the local economy and financial markets…,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.

On Thursday, the Monetary Board slashed key policy rates by 50 bps, bringing down the overnight reverse repurchase, overnight lending and deposit rates to 3.25%, 3.75%, and 2.75%, respectively.

Aside from this, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno approved more regulatory relief for BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) to help them weather business disruptions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

As of Friday, there were 230 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 18 deaths recorded. — Luz Wendy T. Noble