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Peso recovers as Nov. inflation slows for third straight month

By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter

THE PESO on Tuesday strengthened against the dollar on better job data and after inflation eased to the slowest level in four months.

The local currency closed at P50.375 a dollar, appreciating by 3.5 centavos from Monday’s close, according to data posted on the Bankers Association of the Philippines website.

The peso opened Tuesday’s session at P50.35 a dollar, weakened to as much as P50.40 and appreciated to as much as P50.23. Dollars exchanged increased to $944.35 million from $690.84 million on Monday.

Markets will be closed on Wednesday for a religious holiday.

The peso strengthened after November inflation slowed for the third straight month, Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. said in a Viber message.

Inflation slowed to 4.2% in November from 4.6% in October, the local statistics agency reported on Tuesday. This was still above the Philippine central bank’s 2-4% target for the year and faster than the 4% median estimate by 18 analysts in a BusinessWorld poll last week.

The slower increase in food prices mainly caused easing inflation last month, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

Inflation in the 11 months to November was 4.5%, still above the 4.3% forecast by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The decline in the country’s jobless rate had also boosted the peso, Mr. Ricafort said.

The unemployment rate in October fell to 7.4% from 8.9% in September. The number of jobless Filipinos fell to 3.5 million from 4.25 million.

Mr. Ricafort expects the peso to move within P50.28 to P50.48 a dollar on Wednesday.

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