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Peso slips as oil prices spike

THE PESO inched down versus the greenback on Wednesday as oil prices climbed to their highest levels in almost a year.

The local unit closed at P48.069 per dollar yesterday, depreciating by 1.80 centavos from its P48.051 close on Tuesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso started Wednesday’s session at P48.03 against the dollar. Its weakest level was at P48.07 while its intraday best was at P48.03 versus the greenback.

Dollars traded increased to $635.1 million from the $476.25 million on Tuesday.

The peso depreciated due to higher oil prices, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

Reuters reported that pump prices rose by more than 1% on Wednesday. Gains were led by Brent crude prices that inched up 1.7% or 79 cents to $57.37 a barrel by 0420GMT while the US West Texas Intermediate price increased 1.3% or 67 cents to $53.88 per barrel.

Both benchmarks saw their prices at their highest since February, prior to the escalation of the virus into a pandemic.

Meanwhile, a trader said the peso slipped as investors await the stimulus package of US President-elect Joseph R. Biden.

Mr. Biden said he will reveal a trillion-dollar worth of package this week that includes state and local government funds for the pandemic, as well as rent and unemployment support.

For today, Mr. Ricafort expects the peso to move within the P48.04 to P48.09 band versus the dollar while the trader gave a wider P48 to P48.20 range. — LWTN with Reuters

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