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Peso ends flat as coronavirus cases climb

THE PESO closed nearly flat against the greenback on Thursday due to the continued increase in coronavirus infections and softer remittance data.

The local unit closed at P48.07 per dollar on Thursday, barely changed from its Wednesday finish of P48.069, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened the session at P48.08 per dollar, which was also its intraday trough. It traded within a narrow range as its strongest showing was just at P48.06 against the greenback.

Dollars traded declined to $449.05 million yesterday from $635.1 million on Wednesday.

The peso was flat due to cautious trading amid a recent increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

COVID-19 infections in the Philippines rose by 1,912 on Thursday to 494,605, Health department data showed. Active cases stood at 25,614.

Softer November remittance data also affected sentiment, Mr. Ricafort added.

Cash remittances rose by 0.3% year on year in November to $2.379 billion, the slowest pace of growth since the 4.1% contraction in August.

In the first 11 months, cash remittances dropped 0.9% to $27.013 billion from the $27.231 billion logged in the same period in 2019. The central bank expects inflows to have dropped by 2% in 2020. 

For Friday, Mr. Ricafort sees the peso moving within P48.05 to P48.10 per dollar.

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