THE PESO appreciated versus the greenback on Tuesday amid softer factory output data, which could translate to a slower recovery in imports. 

The local unit closed at P48.48 versus the dollar, gaining 8.1 centavos from its previous finish of P48.561, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened Tuesday’s trading session at P48.655 per dollar. Its weakest showing was at P48.67 while its intraday best was at P48.47 against the greenback.

Dollars traded increased to $890.25 million yesterday from $685.98 million on Monday.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort attributed the peso’s gains to the softer manufacturing data released on Tuesday, which could mean a slower recovery in imports.

Preliminary results of the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed factory output gauged through volume of production index dropped 16.7% year on year in January, steeper than the 12% decline in December and a reversal of the 1.9% growth a year ago. It also marked the 11th straight month of a contraction in factory output.

Meanwhile, a trader said the peso was supported by the steady unemployment rate recorded in January.

The country’s jobless rate stood at 8.7% in January, unchanged from October last year but still higher than the 5.3% a year earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Monday. However, unemployed Filipinos rose to 3.953 million from 3.813 million in October and was also higher than the 2.391 million in January 2020.

For today, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P48.42 to P48.55 per dollar while the trader expects the local unit to move within the P48.40 to P48.60 levels. — LWTN