THE PESO strengthened on Monday after the government eased public transportation rules within Metro Manila and as opposition lawmakers in the United States said they expect a deal on a fresh stimulus fund by this week.
The local unit closed at P48.60 versus the dollar on Monday, rising by 2.5 centavos from its P48.625 finish on Friday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.
The peso opened Monday’s session at P48.62 per dollar, which was also its weakest showing for the day. Its intraday best was at P48.54 against the dollar.
Dollars traded declined to $508.41 million on Monday from $587.75 million last week.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said via text that the peso rose after the Transportation department said it will gradually increase passenger capacity on trains in Metro Manila to 50% from 30% starting this week.
This will apply to trains of the Metro Rail Transit Line-3, Light Rail Transit-Line 1, Light Rail Transit-Line 2 and the Philippine National Railways, which were previously operating at 13% capacity.
A trader said in an e-mail that the peso strengthened after House Speaker and opposition member Nancy Pelosi vowed to reach a compromise with the White House by Tuesday on a stimulus meant to mitigate the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on the world’s largest economy.
Ms. Pelosi said on Sunday that differences remained with President Donald J. Trump’s administration but that she was optimistic legislation could be pushed through before Election Day, Reuters reported.
Ms. Pelosi, the top elected US Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the Nov. 3 presidential election between Republican Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, but acknowledged an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.
But with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, a deal appears to be a long shot.
The White House proposed a $1.8-trillion stimulus last week to help Americans struggling with the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. Ms. Pelosi said the offer fell short in a range of areas, including tax credits for poor people, aid to state and local governments, worker protections and rent help. She has stuck to her demand for a $2.2-trillion aid and stimulus package.
The Republicans who control the Senate are loath to pass another giant relief bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote on Wednesday on a $500-billion proposal to target specific areas of need.
For today, Mr. Ricafort sees the peso moving from P48.55 to P48.65 versus the dollar, while the trader expects it to range from P48.50 to P48.70. — K.K.T. Jose with Reuters