Peso weakens further as dollar bucks weak retail data

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THE peso declined further against the dollar on Friday as market participants pushed the US currency higher despite disappointing retail sales data in the US.

The peso ended the week at P52.43 against the dollar, five centavos weaker than the P52.38 finish recorded on Thursday.

The peso opened the session slightly stronger at P52.35, strengthening to a daily peak of P52.29, and latter weakening to a low of P52.50.

Market volume was $756.9 million, down from $1.097 billion the previous day.

A foreign exchange trader said on Friday that momentum in favor of the dollar is “still going up,” with market participants seen bidding up the US currency.

“Despite weaker retail sales in the US, there’s still support to drive the dollar higher,” the trader said in a phone interview.

The US Commerce Department reported on Thursday that retail sales declined 1.2% in December, the biggest decline since September 2009, indicating a sharp slowdown in domestic consumption at the end of the year.

“The peso weakened after global growth fears heightened following the record low US December retail sales data, which noted a slump in American consumer spending despite expectations of a stronger reading due to the holiday season last year,” another trader said.

Meanwhile, the first trader expressed the belief that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) may have intervened.

“We think the central bank is already there to cap the peso at P52.50, as we saw agent banks near that level,” the trader added.

The BSP sometimes conducts “tactical interventions” to temper any volatility in the peso. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal