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Peso weakens on US-China issues

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THE PESO weakened against the dollar on Wednesday due to mixed signals from the US and China on the new set of tariffs on Chinese goods set to take effect this month.

The local unit closed at P50.81 against the greenback on Wednesday, depreciating by 7.5 centavos from its P50.735-a-dollar finish on Tuesday, according to data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened Wednesday’s session at P50.70 versus the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P50.87 while its intraday best against the greenback was at P50.695.

Dollars traded climbed to $782.8 million from the $742.36 million seen on Tuesday.

Analysts said mixed signals from headlines on the US-China trade war affected the peso’s performance for the day.

“The trading movement was on the back of comments that there could be a delay for the tariff [set on Dec. 15] but the US side said there could be no such thing,” a trader said in a phone call, noting that the peso-dollar movement continued to be sideways.

The said mixed signals have resulted in the dollar rising against other major global and Asian currencies, according to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort.

“The peso exchange rate closed weaker amid market concerns that the scheduled tariffs on [the] additional $160 billion of US imports from China could proceed on Dec. 15,” he said in a text message.

Reuters reported that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said that the final decision for the tariffs will be on US President Donald J. Trump.

“Either way we’re going to be in a great place … The president loves them (the tariffs). If we get a great deal, we’ll be in a good place as well. But it will be the president’s decision,” Mr. Navarro said in an interview with Fox Business Network as reported by Reuters.

The White House’s top economic and trade advisers, including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Larry Kudlow, Peter Navarro, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to meet in coming days with Mr. Trump over that decision, according to a source interviewed by the news wire.

For tomorrow, both Mr. Ricafort and the trader expect the peso to range from P50.65-50.90 versus the dollar. — Luz Wendy T. Noble with Reuters









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