THE PESO strengthened versus the dollar on Thursday as inflation inched up in October and amid early results of the United States presidential election.
The local unit closed at P48.31 versus the dollar on Thursday, rising by nine centavos from its P48.40 finish on Wednesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.
The peso opened the trading session stronger at P48.35 against the dollar. It hit a low of P48.385 but finished closer to its intraday high of P48.305 versus the greenback.
Some $661.87 million exchanged hands on Thursday, declining from the $730.86 million seen in the previous session.
A trader said the peso gained ground versus the dollar following the release of October inflation data.
“The peso appreciated following the stronger-than-expected headline inflation for October which surpassed market consensus,” the trader said in an e-mail.
Inflation picked up to its fastest pace in three months in October, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released Thursday showed.
Headline inflation stood at 2.5% last month, faster than the 2.3% pace in September. This was the fastest print in three months or since the 2.7% reading in July.
The October print fell within the 1.9-2.7% estimate given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) but was quicker than the 2.4% median in a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week.
Year to date, inflation averaged at 2.5%, within the BSP’s 2-4% target for the year but above its 2.3% forecast.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said despite last month’s uptick, inflation remains benign, which will continue to be a boon to the local unit.
“Inflation is still considered benign despite the slight uptick which will reduce the odds of a policy rate cut by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas soon, thereby supporting sentiment on the peso,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.
He added that the peso rose as partial results of the US presidential election favored Democrat candidate Joseph R. Biden, Jr. over the incumbent Donald J. Trump, a Republican.
“A Biden victory would lead to more US stimulus, as advocated by the Democrats, thereby leading to faster global economic growth and gains in the stock markets, including the peso,” he said.
Mr. Biden on Wednesday predicted victory over Mr. Trump after winning two critical US states, while the Republican incumbent alleged fraud, filed lawsuits and demanded recounts in a race yet to be decided a day after polls closed, Reuters reported.
At the moment, not including Wisconsin, where the Republican Mr. Trump has demanded a recount, Edison Research gives Mr. Biden a 243 to 213 lead over Mr. Trump in Electoral College votes, which are largely based on a state’s population.
For today, the trader expects the peso to range from P48.20 to P48.40 versus the dollar, while Mr. Ricafort sees it moving within a lower band of P48.37 to P48.47. — K.K.T. Jose with Reuters