• Peso weakest in nearly 17 months


    The peso closed at its weakest level against the US dollar in nearly 17 months on Thursday after the release of improved US housing data.

    The Philippine currency slipped in value to P45.38 to $1, losing 14 centavos from its P45.24 close on Wednesday.

    Thursday’s close was the lowest finish for the peso since it settled at P45.41 on February 3 last year.

    Nicholas Antonio Mapa, associate economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said the general strength of the dollar may be attributed to the strong housing data in US.

    US existing home sales turned out higher than forecast at 5.49 million in June.

    Mapa said the better US home sales print supported expectations of a Fed rate hike sometime during the rest of the year.

    “The peso moved in line with the regional currencies as dealers sought the dollar or the relative safety of major currencies like the EUR (euro) and GBP (British pound), which both gained during the session,” he added.

    The local currency opened at P45.27 to $1 on the Philippine Dealing System (PDS) on Thursday before trading between P45.25 and P45.40.

    Total volume transacted on the PDS rose to $539.8 million from $430.6 million in previous trading.


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