* Peso falls beyond 50.00 per dollar, hits 10-year low
* Philippine c.bank says doesn't target an exchange rate
* But Philippine c.bank says mindful of excessive volatility
(Adds text, updates prices)
SINGAPORE, Feb 20 The Philippine peso tumbled to
its lowest level in more than a decade on Monday, with its slide
picking up further momentum after it breached psychological
support at 50 per U.S. dollar.
The head of the Philippine central bank said the peso's
weakness was driven by risk-off sentiment and geopolitical
concerns, especially in Europe.
The governor of the Philippine central bank, Amando
Tetangco, said the central bank does not target a specific
exchange rate level but is mindful of excessive volatility.
The peso slipped to as low as 50.20 per dollar as
of 0547 GMT, matching a trough last touched in November 2006.
The level of 50.00 per dollar had previously been a key
threshold, since the peso had held that level "partly because of
official intervention" said Andy Ji, Asian currency strategist
for Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
"I think the market's been shaken a little bit," Ji said,
referring to the peso's fall on Monday.
The peso's drop below the key technical support level
appears to have caught some market participants off guard, and
is a bearish signal for the peso, he added.
Separately, analysts at Maybank said in a research note that
there was some market chatter of selling in 10-year Philippine
The peso had set an eight-year low of 50.00 against the
greenback late last November. That came as the dollar rallied
after the U.S. presidential elections, buoyed by expectations
that Donald Trump's fiscal policy proposals would bolster growth
and inflation and prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest
rates at a faster pace.
While the peso tested that trough on a number of occasions
since then, it had managed to avoid falling beyond that level
The drop in the peso came on a day when several other
emerging Asian currencies were lower against the dollar, with
the Indonesian rupiah slipping 0.2 percent and the
Malaysian ringgit easing 0.1 percent.
Markets, already nervous over the possibility of a win for
far-right, anti-European Union candidate Marine Le Pen, were
jolted after two French hard-left candidates late on Friday said
they were discussing cooperation in their bid for the country's
The fear in markets is that a unified left-wing front could
cause the centrist vote to shift towards Le Pen.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0550 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous Pct
Japan yen 113.10 113.00 -0.09
Sing dlr 1.4174 1.4183 +0.06
Taiwan dlr 30.800 30.776 -0.08
Korean won 1145.60 1146.30 +0.06
Baht 35.02 34.98 -0.10
Peso 50.200 50.000 -0.40
Rupiah 13350 13330 -0.15
Rupee 67.00 67.02 +0.03
Ringgit 4.4560 4.4510 -0.11
Yuan 6.8669 6.8689 +0.03
Change so far
Currency Latest bid End prev Pct
Japan yen 113.10 117.07 +3.51
Sing dlr 1.4174 1.4490 +2.23
Taiwan dlr 30.800 32.279 +4.80
Korean won 1145.60 1207.70 +5.42
Baht 35.02 35.80 +2.25
Peso 50.20 49.72 -0.96
Rupiah 13350 13470 +0.90
Rupee 67.00 67.92 +1.37
Ringgit 4.4480 4.4845 +0.82
Yuan 6.8669 6.9467 +1.16
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Additional
reporting by Karen Lema in Manila)