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Peso down on hawkish remarks from Fed chief

BW FILE PHOTO

THE PESO retreated versus the greenback on Thursday as the US Federal Reserve continued to be hawkish amid emerging inflation risks.

The local unit closed at P50.40 per dollar on Thursday, shedding six centavos from its P50.34 finish on Wednesday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened Thursday’s session weaker at P50.38 per dollar. Its worst showing was at P50.44, while its intraday best was at P50.32 against the greenback.

Dollars exchanged dropped to $880.24 million on Thursday from $1.032 billion on Wednesday.

The peso was weaker on Thursday following hawkish statements from Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell regarding their policy approach moving forward, a trader said in an e-mail.

For two straight days, Mr. Powell has said they will look into implementing a quicker tapering of asset purchases and reinforced his message that the Fed will keep inflation in check, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

“We’ve seen the factors that are causing higher inflation to be more persistent. Policy has adapted to that and will continue to adapt,” Mr. Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

He added that it would be appropriate to assess a faster tapering that could be finished in a few months, echoing his statement to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said there was also cautious sentiment after the first Omicron case was detected in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the first Omicron case was confirmed in the US in a person who returned from South Africa, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

For today, both Mr. Ricafort and the trader gave a forecast range of P50.30 to P50.50 per dollar. — L.W.T. Noble with Bloomberg

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