Peso closes stronger ahead of Fed Jackson Hole meeting

The peso strengthened against the dollar Friday, with investors cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole symposium, which might provide clues on the US central bank’s taper plans.

The peso closed at P49.955 Friday against its Thursday finish of P49.98, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines’ (BAP).

It opened the session at P50.06, peaking at P49.925. The low was P50.16.

Dollar volume eased to $922.60 million from $1.166 billion Thursday.

Week-on-week, the peso rose from its P50.37 close on Aug. 20.

“Market participants took profits ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium tonight,” a trader said via e-mail.

Fed President Jerome Powell is due to speak on Friday at the symposium inn Wyoming.

The minutes of the Fed’s July policy meeting indicated an intention to start scaling down monthly purchases of $120 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities by the end of the year.

“The peso also ended stronger ahead of the proposed granular lockdowns starting September at the barangay level and away from the city, provincial, region levels, (that) could help reduce the drag of lockdowns on the economy,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

The increased supply of vaccines, currently at 49 million doses which have been imported, and progress in the vaccination program also buoyed peso sentiment, he said.

The Health department reported 17,447 new local cases of coronavirus infection Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to 142,531. –

Beatrice M. Laforga