PHP now below 50 to a US dollar

MANILA -- Lower-than-expected rise of March 2017 non-farm payrolls (NFP) in the US boosted the Philippine peso and the local equities market Monday.

The local unit surged to its two-month high of 49.71 from 50.08 Friday last week. It finished at 49.69 on Feb. 6.

A trader attributed the peso's appreciation to the below-expected NFP figure for the third month this year at 98,000 from the downwardly revised 219,000 last February.

Lots of investors were upset because of the latest report but some are hopeful that next month's figure will improve and will not have any weather-related factor, the trader said.

Investors also closed their long dollar position ahead of the long weekend, the trader said, referring to the Holy Week work week, which normally is until Wednesday only.

The trader said the peso's opening level for the day, at 49.88 from the previous session's 50.17, was driven by domestic fundamentals.

It helped drive the peso-dollar even lower as investors secured liquidity ahead of the long weekend, the trader said.

Asked whether this situation is an annual thing, the trader said Monday's currency trading was only due to the NFP report but forecast the peso's strength to be sustained until Wednesday.

After opening the day better, the peso traded between 49.700 and its opening level, bringing the average for the day at 49.77.

Some USD1.1 billion changed hands, more than twice the USD504.5 million last Friday.

The currency pair is seen to trade between 49.65 and 49.85 Tuesday.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 0.45 percent, or 34.16 points, to 7,617.91 points.

All Shares followed with a 0.39 percent, or 17.45 points, jump to 4,541.61 points.

The sectors were led by Property, which rose 1.13 percent, followed by Services with 1.07 percent increase.

Industrial, Mining and Oil, Financials, and Holding Firms, increased by 0.64 percent, 0.34 percent, 0.02 percent, and 0.01 percent, respectively.

Volume for the day reached 1.5 billion shares amounting to Php 6.1 billion.

Gainers led losers at 101 to 88 while 50 shares did not move.

Source: Philippines News Agency