THE PESO strengthened against the dollar on Tuesday as the country recorded fewer cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The local unit closed at P48.56 against the greenback on Tuesday, up 11 centavos from its P48.67-per-dollar finish on Monday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened Tuesday’s session at P48.65 per dollar. It logged its best showing at P48.54, while its intraday low was at P48.68 versus the US currency.

Dollars traded declined to $687.37 million on Tuesday from $765.8 million on Monday.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the peso went up as the country logged lower cases of the virus on Monday.

“The peso exchange rate was stronger versus the US dollar after the latest easing of new COVID-19 cases to new lows in nearly two months or since July 14 this year, which could help improve economic recovery prospects,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.

The Department of Health (DoH) on Monday reported 1,383 additional coronavirus infections. However, it said the data is based on just 88 out of 115 accredited testing laboratories as 27 laboratories failed to submit their results on time.

On Tuesday, the department reported 3,281 new cases, bringing the total to 241,987. Recoveries stood at 185,178 while deaths were at 3,916. The DoH said 34 laboratories did not submit results.

Mr. Ricafort added that the dollar weakened as US President Donald J. Trump made fresh threats about the world’s largest economy’s trade with China.

“President Trump’s mention of a possible COVID-19 vaccine by October 2020 supported the market sentiment, but it was offset by concerns over increased US-China tensions,” he said.

With the US election approaching, Mr. Trump on Monday again raised the idea of separating the US and Chinese economies, also known as decoupling, suggesting the United States would not lose money if the world’s two biggest economies no longer did business, Reuters reported.

Mr. Trump vowed that in future his administration would prohibit federal contracts with companies that outsource to China and hold Beijing accountable for allowing the coronavirus, which began in China, to spread around the world.

For today, Mr. Ricafort sees the peso moving within the P48.50 to P48.65 range against the dollar. — K.K.T. Jose with Reuters