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Peso flat as delayed rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines offset arrival of Sinovac

The Philippine peso closed unchanged against its US counterpart on Monday, as the delayed rollout of vaccines from AstraZeneca offset the arrival of the first batch of doses from China.

The local currency closed at P48.59:$1, the same as its finish on Friday, February 26.

The Philippines over the weekend received 600,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine as a donation from China, with the first batch of inoculations conducted earlier on Monday.

"However, an offsetting factor is that the scheduled arrival of the 525,600 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that was supposed to be today has been delayed indefinitely due to limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines amid increased demand globally," Michael Ricafort, chief economist at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), said in a mobile message.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the scheduled arrival of 525,600 AstraZeneca on March 1 will be delayed for a week due to the limited global supply.

Ricafort also noted that among the factors that affected Monday's session is the possible reopening of the economy further to a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as indicated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Further reopening of the economy would lead to faster pick up/recovery in the economy as well as in imports, as an offsetting factor on the peso," he explained.

The economist likewise noted the release of manufacturing data, with the latest results of the IHS Markit survey indicating that the local manufacturing sector continued to expand in February.

"Peso also steady after the latest Philippine Markit Manufacturing PMI for the month of February steady at 52.5 expansion mode, among the strongest in more than two years or since December 2018 or more than a year before the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.—LDF, GMA News