Peso continues to rally vs dollar on slower-than-expected inflation print

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THE PESO appreciated versus the greenback for the fifth straight day as inflation was steady in April and as the daily tally of coronavirus cases remained low.

The local unit closed at P48.025 per dollar on Wednesday, appreciating by 1.3 centavos from its P48.038 finish on Tuesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso’s close on Wednesday was its best since Feb. 15’s finish of P47.93 per dollar.

The local unit opened the session at P48.03 versus the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P48.13, while its intraday best was at P47.96 against the greenback.

Dollars traded jumped to $1.2 billion yesterday from $730.7 million on Tuesday.

The slower-than-expected April inflation print boosted market sentiment and supported the peso, a trader said in an e-mail.

Headline inflation stood at 4.5% for the second straight month in April, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday.  However, this was faster than April 2020’s 2.2%.

April headline inflation was slower than the median 4.7% in an analyst poll BusinessWorld conducted late last week and settled within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) own 4.2-5% estimate.

Year to date, inflation averaged at 4.5%, still above the BSP’s 2-4% target as well as its inflation forecast of 4.2% for the year.

Inflation eased in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages at 4.8% in April from 5.8% in March; and alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 12% from 12.1%.

On the other hand, annual increases were noted in housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (1.5% from 0.9%); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (2.1% from 1.9%); health (3.1% from 2.9%); transport (17.9% from 13.8%); communication (0.3% from 0.2%); and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3.4% from 3.1%), PSA data showed.

The easing number of new coronavirus infections also boosted the peso versus the dollar, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

The Health department reported 5,685 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday to bring the total to more than 1.073 million. Meanwhile, active cases stood at 66,060.

For Thursday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P47.97 to P48.07 per dollar, while the trader expects the local unit to move within the P48 to P48.10 range.