The Philippine peso gained for a third day on speculation the Federal Reserve will ease U.S. monetary policy, spurring foreign funds to seek higher-yielding assets in emerging markets. Bonds were little changed.
Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell for a third month in June, dropping 0.5 percent following a 0.2 percent decrease in May, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will address the outlook for the economy when he delivers his semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress later today and may signal steps to revive growth, such as a third round of quantitative easing.
“Markets are getting a bit ahead of themselves and are pushing into a higher chance of QE3 sooner rather than later,” said Vishnu Varathan, a Singapore-based economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. Investors “are looking for real returns elsewhere. All Asian currencies against the dollar are stronger,” he said.
The peso climbed 0.3 percent to 41.722 per dollar at the close in Manila, according to Tullett Prebon Plc. It has gained 5 percent this year, the best performer among Asia’s 11 most-traded currencies. One-month implied volatility, a measure of exchange-rate swings used to price options, fell 20 basis points to 6.2 percent.
The Philippine central bank cut the rate it pays lenders for overnight deposits twice earlier this year, by a combined 0.5 percentage point to 4 percent, before leaving it unchanged in April and June.
The yield on the government’s 5.875 percent bonds due March 2032 rose four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 5.68 percent, according to prices from Tradition Financial Services.
The Bureau of the Treasury sold 9 billion pesos ($216 million) of 4.75 percent bonds due July 2019 today.