• Peso at 3-week low ahead of US jobs data

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    The peso closed at its weakest level in three weeks on Monday as the dollar gained ground ahead of the release of the US nonfarm payroll (NFP) report.

    The local unit weakened to P44.61 to $1, losing 9 centavos from its P44.52 close on Thursday last week. Thursday’s close was the lowest finish for the peso since it settled at P44.67 on April 13 this year. There was no trading on Friday due to the Labor Day holiday.

    “The peso continues to suffer the fate of most Southeast Asian currencies as the USD strength gathers steam ahead of a forecasted strong NFP print on Friday,” Nicholas Antonio Mapa, associate economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said.

    If the jobs report turns out to be on the upside, the US Federal Reserve may consider hiking interest rates sooner rather than later, Mapa said.

    At its meeting last week, the Federal Open Market Committee said it expects economic activity in US to expand at a moderate pace, suggesting that an interest rate increase later in the year is still possible.
    The peso opened at P44.65 to $1 on the Philippine Dealing System (PDS) on Monday, before trading between P44.59 and P44.71.

    Total volume transacted on the PDS fell to $672.7 million from $955.8 million in previous trading. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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