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Philippine Peso Gains as Exports Increase More Than Forecast

The Philippine peso strengthened for a second day as the government reported exports rose more than forecast in February. Bonds advanced.

Overseas shipments jumped 14.6 percent from a year earlier to $4.43 billion, compared with a 3 percent gain in January, official data showed today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists was for a 1.7 percent increase. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen endorsed the central bank’s “highly accommodative” policy, which has helped free up funds for investment in emerging-market assets.

“The scale of the rebound in exports caught the market by surprise,” said Radhika Rao, an economist at Forecast Pte in Singapore. “The Fed might keep an easing bias longer than expected. That’s why Asian currencies are higher.”

The peso appreciated 0.1 percent to 42.715 per dollar at the close in Manila, according to Tullett Prebon Plc. The currency touched 42.625 today, the strongest level since April 3. One-month implied volatility, which measures exchange-rate swings used to price options, was steady at 5.70 percent.

“Over the next several years, I anticipate that we will fall far short in achieving our maximum employment objective, and I expect inflation to remain at or below” the Fed’s 2 percent target, Yellen said yesterday in a speech in New York. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee last month maintained its view that interest rates are likely to stay low through at least late 2014.

The yield on the Philippines’ 15 percent bonds due March 2022 declined three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 5.77 percent, according to noon fixing prices from the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp.

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