Peso touches 54 vs $1 as market monitors Bangko Sentral move


Posted at Sep 12 2018 04:18 PM | Updated as of Sep 12 2018 10:21 PM

Peso bills are counted at a foreign exchange counter in Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- The peso touched the P54 level against the dollar on Wednesday, with analysts awaiting central bank action on the currency.

The peso closed at P54.13 against the greenback from Tuesday's close of P53.94, holding at its weakest in nearly 13 years. Bangko Sentral Governor Nestor Espenilla earlier said he would guard against speculation.

The trade deficit widened to P3.55 billion in July, as imports grew at its fastest so far this year while exports snapped 6 straight months of contraction.

"With the trade gap figures yesterday, I don't think that's going to assuage investors' concerns about the peso," BPI Securities research head Haj Narvaez said.

"Given more potential foreign outflows, unless the BSP intervenes or has an aggressive rate hike, we'll likely see the peso to be challenged at these levels," Narvaez said.

Narvaez said a 7 percent depreciation from the start of the year appeared to be a "palatable" level for the BSP.

The BSP's Monetary Board will meet on Nov. 27 after raising the overnight borrowing rate in its last 3 meetings. This brought the benchmark to 4 percent.