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Peso weakens on rise in new infections

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THE PESO weakened against the greenback on Monday on fears over a rise in infections and the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The local unit ended trading at P50.14 per dollar, depreciating by eight centavos from its P50.06 finish on Friday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened the session at P50.05 per dollar. Its weakest was its close of P50.14 while its intraday best was at P50.03 against the greenback.

Dollars traded slumped to $456.96 million on Monday from the $809.02 million seen last Friday.

A trader said risk-off sentiment hurt the peso amid market fears over the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its impact on the economy.

“The peso weakened due to some investor caution amid the notable rise in COVID-19 cases and closure of few retail outlets in some US states,” the trader said in an e-mail.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday said global COVID-19 infections logged a record single-day increase of 183,020 on Sunday, according to Reuters. The previous single-day record for new cases was 181,232 logged on June 18.

WHO said the biggest increase was logged from North and South America with over 116,000 new cases reported.

Meanwhile, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the peso’s depreciation came as the dollar strengthened.

“The peso exchange rate closed weaker after the latest upward correction in the dollar amid recent healthy downward correction in most global stock markets after hefty gains in recent days,” he said.

For today, both the trader and Mr. Ricafort see the peso trading at P50.05 to P50.25 versus the dollar. — L.W.T. Noble





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