Peso inches higher on record GIR level

THE PESO inched up against the greenback on Friday as the country’s dollar reserves reached a record high last year.

The local unit closed at P48.065 per dollar on Friday, crawling higher from its P48.07 finish on Thursday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

It also gained 2.3 centavos from its P48.088 close on Jan. 8.

The peso opened Friday’s session at P48.05 per dollar. Its weakest showing was at P48.08 while its intraday best was at P48.041 against the greenback.

Dollars traded increased to $512.1 million on Friday from $449.05 million on Thursday.

Data showing record-high gross international reserves (GIR) at end-2020 pushed the peso higher, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

GIR reached a record $109.8 billion at end-December, increasing by 4.8% from the $104.8 billion seen as of November and by 20% from $87.839 billion a year ago, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released Friday showed. This exceeded the BSP’s $105-billion projection.

Meanwhile, a trader said in an email that the peso appreciated following a spike in US weekly jobless claims.

Reuters reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 181,000 to a seasonally adjusted 965,000 for the week ended Jan. 9, making it the highest since late August, based on data released by the US Labor Department. This is also beyond the 795,000 applications projected by a Reuters poll last week. — LWTN with Reuters