Peso strengthens on import slump

The peso finished stronger Friday following the release of data pointing to the acceleration of the decline in imports in January.

The peso closed at P48.455 against its P48.50 finish on Thursday, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened at P48.44, hitting a high of P48.38 and a low of P48.50.

Week on week, the peso was little changed from its P48.56 close on March 5.

Dollar volume rose to $913.73 million from $792.65 million Thursday.

“The peso closed stronger after the latest trade data that showed declines in imports, thereby reflecting a softer economic recovery as well as a softer recovery in imports,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that merchandise imports fell 14.9% year on year to $7.911 billion in January, accelerating from the 8.2% decline in December and the 2.8% contraction a year earlier.

Other factors that pushed the peso higher were the correction in global oil prices and the continued increase in 10-year US Treasury yields after the signing of the $1.9-trillion stimulus bill in the US.

US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed the stimulus package Thursday to inject more funds into the US economy.

A trader said profit-taking in the dollar was expected ahead of the US producer price data due Friday. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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