Peso strengthens on US data, weak dollar


THE PESO rose on Monday amid a generally weaker dollar and softer-than-expected April US nonfarm payrolls data.

The local unit closed at P57.22 per dollar on Monday, strengthening by 12.5 centavos from its P57.345 finish on Friday, Bankers Association of the Philippines data showed.

The peso opened Monday’s session at P57.20 against the dollar. Its intraday best was at P57.10, while its weakest showing was at P57.28 versus the greenback.

Dollars exchanged dropped to $1.04 billion on Monday from $1.4 billion on Friday.

“The peso appreciated following the softer-than-expected US employment reports in April 2024,” a trader said in an e-mail.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message that the peso rose amid a weaker dollar.

The dollar was a touch lower on Monday as a soft US jobs report boosted wagers that the Federal Reserve may still cut rates this year, Reuters reported.

Data on Friday showed US job growth slowed more than expected in April and the increase in annual wages fell below 4% for the first time in nearly three years, as signs of labor market cooling raised optimism that the US central bank could engineer a “soft landing” for the economy. 

Markets are now pricing in almost 50 basis points of cuts this year, with a rate cut in November fully priced in.

The Fed held interest rates steady at the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting last week, as expected, but signaled it was still leaning towards eventual rate cuts, even if they may take longer to come than initially expected.

The dollar index, which measures the US currency against six others, was at 105.10, having touched a more than three-week low of 104.52 on Friday. The index is up nearly 4% this year but fell almost 1% last week.

For Tuesday, the trader said the peso could depreciate again due to an expected uptick in Philippine inflation last month.

The trader sees the peso moving between P57.05 and P57.30 per dollar, while Mr. Ricafort expects it to range from P57.10 to P57.30. — A.M.C. Sy with Reuters