MANILA, Philippinies?The peso slipped back to the 44-to-a-dollar territory on Friday, registering its weakest for the new year and since the last week of December.
Traders said the US dollar strengthened against the peso and other Asian currencies as the outlook on the US economy improved.
The peso ended this week at 44.15 against the greenback, down by another 23 centavos from Thursday's finish of 43.92. The close on Thursday already marked a 15-centavo decline from the previous day's close.
Intraday high hit 44:$1, while intraday low settled at 44.17:$1. Volume of trade fell to $803.63 million from $958.55 million previously.
"There has been increased confidence on the dollar given that some data were better than usual," said Jonathan Ravelas, market strategist for Banco de Oro.
Other market analysts noted expectations of improved US employment data, particularly for the non-farm sector. Foreign exchange markets are expecting the US government to report an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent in December, better than the previous month's 9.8 percent.
They said the outlook on Asian economies remain bullish, but some investors shifted to the US dollar on the back of expectations of improving US macroeconomic data. If both emerging Asian markets and the US economy were improving, traders said, some investors would prefer to take less risk and invest in the dollar.
The drop of the peso also came amid expectations that inflation in the country would remain benign this year. As such, short-term portfolio investors do not see the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas raising its key interest rates any time soon.
Low policy rates would influence yields on portfolio instruments, they said.