THE PESO weakened versus the dollar on Tuesday as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases increased in the United States and after Metro Manila mayors recommended keeping current restrictions for the rest of the year.

The local unit closed at P48.62 versus the dollar on Tuesday, declining by two centavos from its P48.60 finish on Monday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened Tuesday’s session at P48.54 per dollar, while its weakest showing was 48.63. Meanwhile, it climbed to as high as P48.52 against the greenback during the trading session.

The volume of dollars that changed hands rose to $869.33 million on Tuesday from $508.41 million the previous day.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said via text that the peso weakened after the US tallied more cases of COVID-19.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States last week rose 13% to more than 393,000, approaching levels last seen during the summer peak, according to a Reuters analysis.

Deaths fell 2% to about 4,900 people for the week ended Oct. 18, according to the analysis of state and county reports. Since the outbreak started, nearly 220,000 people in the country have died and over 8.1 million have become infected with the novel coronavirus.

The United States recorded 69,478 new cases on Friday — the highest single-day total since July 24 and the fifth-highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, a trader said in an e-mail that the peso declined after Metro Manila mayors recommended that cities remain under tighter restrictions.

The trader said this dampened investor sentiment slightly as this came after the Transportation department allowed higher train passenger capacity to 50% from 13% beginning this week.

The 17 mayors comprising the Metro Manila Council recommended to the government an extension of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila — set to expire on Oct. 31 — until the end of 2020, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jose Arturo S. Garcia, Jr. Garcia said on Monday.

For today, Mr. Ricafort expects the peso to move from P48.60 to P48.70 versus the dollar, while the trader sees it ranging from P48.60 to P48.75.

Meanwhile, the yuan held near a two-year high against the dollar in offshore trade on Tuesday on signs of a robust economic recovery in China, however, doubts about a US stimulus deal capped gains for other risk currencies, Reuters reported.

China’s offshore yuan rose as high as 6.6695 per dollar on Monday, surpassing its 2019 peak and hitting its strongest level since July 2018. It last stood at 6.6810.

Data on Monday showing a recovery in China’s consumer sector helped boost not only the yuan but other currencies, including the euro.

In early Tuesday trade, the euro held firm at $1.17695, holding a 0.44% gain made on Monday. The dollar traded little changed at 105.46 yen. — KKTJ with Reuters