Peso inches lower amid cautious trade

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THE PESO declined slightly as markets await developments overseas.

THE PESO moved sideways as it traded within a tight range yesterday with the market staying on the sidelines, anticipating central bank developments overseas.

The local unit closed at P50.66 apiece against the greenback on Monday, slightly weaker than the P50.65-per-dollar finish on Friday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened the session at P50.60 to a dollar. Its weakest point for the day was at P50.69, while its strongest was at P50.575 against the greenback.

Total volume traded yesterday dropped to $884.8 million from $1.12 billion posted on Friday.

A trader yesterday said the market stayed on the sidelines ahead of minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s latest meeting that will be released on Wednesday, as shown in the “quiet” and low trading volume.

“There will be central bank minutes that will be released on Wednesday, then on Thursday, the ECB (European Central Bank) speech… With that said, we just traded a very tight range,” the trader said in a phone call.

The trader added that the market is awaiting the first time new ECB President Christine Lagarde will discuss the euro zone’s policy direction given economic conditions in the bloc.

Meanwhile, another trader said the local unit weakened yesterday with “the release of upbeat US retail sales report last Friday” indicating the “ongoing strength of US consumer spending.”

The traders said the peso may decline further ahead of US data.

“The local currency might continue depreciating from dollar bargain-hunting and expectations of upbeat US housing data releases,” the trader said in an email.

The first trader expect the peso trade slightly higher on Tuesday or within the P50.55-P50.75 range on the lack of fresh leads. For the second trader, the local unit will likely move in the P50.60-50.80 range. — BML