Philippine peso breaches 13 mark against dirham for fourth day

DUBAI — The Philippine peso continued to breach the 13-mark against UAE dirham for the fourth consecutive day yesterday, holding on at 12.76 since Friday, a branch manager of a chain of foreign exchange centres said, quoting rates being used by Philippine banks.

By Jose N Franco Jr

Published: Mon 14 May 2007, 8:37 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:01 PM

Sally Cortez, manager of Al Fardan Exchange in Bur Dubai, said the peso first breached the 13-mark against the dirham on Thursday, appreciating to 12.74 and then depreciating to 12.76 the following day. She said Al Fardan follows the exchange rates used by the Philippine National Bank, Equitable PCIBank and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

Banks' records show that the peso depreciated against the dirham for as low as 13.29 on January 29, and appreciated against the same currency to as high as 12.78 on May 9. Last year, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) enjoyed a bigger purchasing power, with the peso rate against the dirham fluctuating from between 14.50 to 13.25.

Vicente Liwanag Jr, Allied Bank's marketing representative for Dubai and Northern Emirates, said he does not see the peso appreciating further, or breaking the 12-mark, against the dirham, despite the current election period in the Philippines in which the country enjoys high liquidity due to political spending.

He expressed confidence that the dirham would re-appreciate against the peso in more than 30 days, saying that a lot of money would be spent for the opening of schools next month.

Liwanag also stressed that June is the period for the import of goods to the Philippines, in preparation for the Christmas season in December. 'Definitely the importers would be needing a lot of dollars for their product purchases,' he said.

Cortez said the depreciating value of the dirham against the peso has prompted OFWs in the UAE to complain as they augmented remittances alloted for their families and relatives back home.

'The exchange rate now is sad to look at, and there have been complaints from OFWs here as they had to shell out more dirhams to send to the Philippines,' Cortez said.

She said that Filipino migrant workers here send fixed amounts of remittances-or even more-to the Philippines on regular bases, regardless of the exchange rate fluctuations. 'It's the OFWs who adjust, sending more money to make up for the difference as a result of exchange rates from dirham to peso,' she explained.

Liwanag confirmed that a number of OFWs have been complaining of the decreasing purchasing value of the dirham that they earn here against the peso being spent by their loved ones back home.

He stressed, however, that OFWs in the UAE always find ways and means to have a good deal out of their remittances. 'Some of them have been having a 'wait-and-see' attitude, holding off their remittances for a couple of days or even more, waiting for the dirham to re-appreciate against the peso,' Liwanag said.

Earlier, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said remittances by OFWs in Dubai increased 96 per cent to Dh195.4 million in January to February, from Dh100 million for the same two months last year. OFWs in Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, sent home Dh107.4 million in January to February, a 70 per cent increase from Dh63.2 million for the same period in 2006.

Last year, OFWs in the UAE sent a total of Dh1.6 billion to their families, a big chunk of the Dh7 billion OFW remittances from the whole Middle East.

BSP said that some 11 million migrant Filipino workers worldwide continue to support the Philippine economy of 86 million people, with this year's total OFW remittances seen to increase by 10 per cent from the historic high of Dh47 billion recorded in 2006.

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