Peso strengthens versus dollar as Russia-Ukraine talks show progress

 Peso strengthens versus dollar as Russia-Ukraine talks show progress

THE PESO strengthened versus the greenback on Thursday amid some progress in diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine.

The local unit closed at P52.14 per dollar on Thursday, stronger by 17 centavos from its P52.31 finish on Wednesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened Thursday’s session at P52.18 a dollar. Its weakest showing was at P52.22, while its intraday best was at P52.10 against the greenback.

Dollars traded declined to $998.2 million on Thursday from $1.046 billion on Wednesday.

A trader said the peso’s appreciation was supported by positive market sentiment as they welcomed progress in the ongoing talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said their negotiations have become more realistic since the war started three weeks ago, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said they are ready to discuss a neutral status with Ukraine.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort in a Viber message said relatively lower oil prices also brought relief to investors and caused the peso to appreciate.

The peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv caused some decline in global oil prices. Brent declined by $1.89 or 1.9% to settle at $98.02 per barrel on Wednesday, while the US West Texas Intermediate crude was down by $1.40 or 1.5% at $95.04.

The dollar index, which tracks the currency against six major peers, was slightly weaker at 98.476 after declining 0.47% on Wednesday.

For Friday, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P52.05 to P52.25, while the trader expects the local unit to move within P52.10 to P52.25 per dollar. — L.W.T. Noble with Reuters