Peso slips vs dollar on new virus strain in UK

THE PESO inched down against the greenback on Tuesday amid risk-off sentiment due to the new coronavirus strain seen in the United Kingdom.

The local unit finished trading at P48.095 per dollar, shedding a centavo from its Monday close of P48.085.

The peso opened Tuesday’s session P48.10 a dollar. Its weakest showing was at P48.125 while its intraday best was at P48.07 against the greenback.

Dollars exchanged went up to $457.4 million on Tuesday from $399.9 million on Monday.

Market players became cautious after the recent findings on the new virus strain in the UK, causing a slight depreciation in the local unit, a trader said.

Several territories including India, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Jordan, and Hong Kong tightened their borders and suspended arrivals coming from the UK following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s confirmation that the country found a highly infectious mutation of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Reuters reported.

The new coronavirus strain, said to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original, has put some 16 million Britons under tougher lockdowns and prompted several countries to shut their borders to the UK.

Borders were completely closed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. Meanwhile, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Belgium and Canada, imposed earlier travel restrictions for flights coming from the UK during the weekend.

Amid the risk-off sentiment, investors also went for some “healthy profit taking,” which also contributed to the peso’s weakness, said Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort.

This Wednesday, the trader gave a forecast range of P48.05 to $48.25 per dollar, while Mr. Ricafort expects a tighter trading band of P48.06 to P48.14. — LWTN with Reuters

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