Peso at 6-week low on year-to-date export drop

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The peso closed at its weakest level against the US dollar in six weeks on Tuesday following the release of weak cumulative exports data as of end-March.

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The local unit traded at P44.79 to $1 at the close, losing 14 centavos from P44.65 on Monday.

Last Thursday, the peso hit P44.71, its lowest finish in five weeks, or since March 30 when it settled at P44.80.

“Traders possibly focused on the weak exports number, in terms of year-to-date performance, despite the slight bounce in the March numbers,” Nicholas Antonio Mapa, associate economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that March exports rose 2.06 percent to $5.377 billion from $5.268 billion a year earlier.

However, cumulative exports in the three months to March fell 0.2 percent to $14.247 billion from $14.277 billion in the comparable period last year.

The peso opened at P44.81 to $1 at the Philippine Dealing System (PDS) on Tuesday before trading between P44.74 and P44.85.

Total volume transacted on the PDS expanded to $909.5 million from $545 million in previous trading.

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