The peso weakened slightly Friday amid broad pessimism over the economic outlook as coronavirus cases surged worldwide, including in the United States, but ultimately propped up by improving US unemployment and economic growth data.
The currency closed at P48.40 to the dollar, against its Thursday close of P48.39, according to data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.
The peso opened Friday at P48.37, its intraday high. The low was P48.43.
Dollar volume rose to $817.4 million from $524.15 million Thursday.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message that the peso weakened in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the US.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over 81,000 new cases and more than 1,000 deaths in the last seven days, bringing the country’s total cases to over 8 million.
A trader who asked not to be identified said in an e-mail that the peso weakened only slightly bit after US unemployment benefits claims came in at a seven-month low.
“The peso weakened slightly following the better than expected US third-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) growth and initial jobless claims reports overnight,” the trader said.
The Wall Street Journal reported the number of such claims dropped by 40,000 to 751,000 on Oct. 24 despite more COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the unemployment rate fell to 7.9% or one million fewer jobless.
The US economy grew 7.4% in the third quarter for an annualized rate of 33.1%, the biggest jump since 1947. It attributed the growth to “pent-up consumer demand and government support” amid the pandemic. Pandemic relief to Americans has amounted to over $3 trillion, the Wall Street Journal reported. — Kathryn Kristina T. Jose