• Peso gains, likely Fed rate hike delay cited

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    The peso closed at its strongest level in two weeks on Monday as weak US jobs data dampened the prospect of a Fed rate hike this year.

    The Philippine currency gained 29 centavos to finish at P46.48 to $1 from P46.77 on Friday last week. Monday’s close marked the peso’s firmest level since it settled at P46.47 last September 21.

    An analyst said the US dollar strength faded as disappointing non-farm payroll (NFP) data had markets expecting the Federal Reserve to delay a policy rate hike to 2016.

    September NFP fell well below market consensus of 203,000 to 142,000, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent.

    “The data suggests that the service side of the US economy is improving although most major industries registered flat to no growth,” Nicholas Antonio Mapa, associate economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said.

    “The disappointing NFP print may delay the Fed rate hike to 2016,” he added.

    The peso opened at P46.65 to $1 on the Philippine Dealing System on Monday, before trading between P46.47 and P46.66.

    Total volume transacted rose to $760 million from $611.8 million in previous trade.

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