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Peso rebounds on easing of lockdown rules, Budget special session

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The peso rebounded Friday after the government eased lockdown rules for minors as young as 15 and senior citizens as old as 65, and as Congress began its special session to tackle the 2021 national budget.

The peso closed at P48.625 against the dollar, compared with its P48.68 finish Thursday, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened the session at P48.63. The intraday high was P48.61, while the low was P48.65.

Dollar volume was $587.75 million, against $829.01 million the previous day.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message the peso strengthened after the government allowed more people out of quarantine.

“The peso was stronger after the government eased restrictions by allowing more people… to go outside their homes and also eased non-essential travel rules outside the country,” he said.

The government previously prohibited people aged below 21 and above 60 from being in public areas, such as malls.

Mr. Ricafort said the loosening of lockdown rules supports economic recovery along with the reopening of more businesses, including tourism.

Boracay and Baguio started accepting visitors this month as the government began reviving the tourism industry. The Department of Tourism plans to open other areas in Region I.

A trader, who asked not to be identified, said in an e-mail the peso also rose due to the resumption of deliberations on the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for next year.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered the House of Representatives to conduct four days of special session beginning Oct. 13. The House had suspended its budget hearings during the leadership dispute between former Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano and his successor Lord Allan Q. Velasco.

On Monday, Mr. Ricafort expects the peso to trade between P48.55 and P48.70, while the trader expects a range of P48.50 to P48.65. — Kathryn Kristina T. Jose

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