EconomyEditor's PickPeso slips on weak labor data

November 4, 2021

THE PESO slipped versus the greenback on Thursday following weaker labor data and ahead of the release of the October inflation report.

The local unit closed at 50.595 per dollar on Thursday, shedding by 2.5 centavos from its P50.57 finish on Wednesday, based on data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

The peso opened Thursday’s session at P50.55 per dollar. Its weakest showing was at P50.62, while its intraday best was at P50.53 versus the greenback.

Dollars exchanged dropped to $782.25 million on Thursday from $941.7 million on Wednesday.

The peso was slightly weaker due to cautious sentiment after the release of data showing a weaker employment market in September, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

The September Labor Force Survey showed the unemployment rate worsened to 8.9% that month from 8.1% in August, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Thursday. This is the highest rate so far in 2021 or since the 8.8% seen in January.

This means 4.25 million Filipinos were jobless in September from the 3.88 million unemployed in the prior month.

National Statistician Dennis Clare S. Mapa said the higher unemployment rate was likely due to the decline in agriculture jobs following recent typhoons as well as the harvest season.

Meanwhile, a trader said the peso inched down versus the dollar ahead of the release of October inflation data on Friday.

A BusinessWorld poll of 21 economists held last week yielded a median estimate of 4.9% for October headline inflation. If realized, this would be faster than the 4.8% in September.

Analysts said weather disturbances and continued oil price hikes likely caused faster price increases in October.

For Friday, Mr. Ricafort expects the local unit to move within P50.47 to P50.67 per dollar, while the trader gave a forecast range of P50.50 to P50.75. — L.W.T. Noble

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