Foreign Exchange Guide to Philippines
In this guide we review :
- Philippine peso info - general info about the Philippine peso
- Philippine peso in the markets - recent PHP moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Philippines - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Philippine peso cash online - travel money for Philippines
- Sending money to Philippines - save on Philippine peso bank transfers to Philippines
- Philippine peso exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Philippine peso (PHP) general currency information
The Philippine peso is termed an ‘exotic’ currency, which means that there is far less participation in the market for pesos than in the market for more established currencies, such as euros or Australian dollars. For this reason, the price paid to change your money into or from pesos (the price being equivalent to the market bid-ask spread) is far higher relative to the amount of money being changed than it would otherwise be.
‘Liquidity’ in the peso market, or the level of participation, is also far less than in many other emerging market currencies, including the Indian rupee, the South African rand, the Brazilian real and even the Thai baht, among others. In fact, even though the Philippine peso is the world’s thirty-third most traded currency (as of 2016), peso trading contributes to just 0.1% of the foreign exchange market’s total daily turnover.
As an exotic currency, the peso is considered riskier than currencies from major developed nations, which means that its value will fall against the FX majors (especially JPY, USD, CHF, GBP and EUR) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.
Since 2000, the peso’s lowest valuation against the US dollar came in April 2004 when USD/PHP reached 57.72. Its post-2000 high occurred in January 2000 when USD/PHP fell to just 39.28.
Philippine peso (PHP) in the markets
It could hardly have been a worse start to 2018 for the Philippine peso. In mid-February the currency traded at 52.5 per dollar for the first time since 2006. A 4.8% loss year-to-date against the dollar placed the peso second on the list of the world’s worst performing currencies. It bettered only the Argentine peso.
Against the euro and yen (and a host of other currencies), the peso also fell to long-term lows.
The principle reason for peso weakness remains the deterioration in the Philippines’ balance of trade. For 2017, the country's trade deficit widened to $29.8 billion – the largest deficit ever recorded. The deficit is expected to widen even further in 2018 as imports surge. More imports are necessary to complete President Duterte’s ambitious infrastructure projects.
Entering 2018, among analysts polled by Bloomberg, the median estimate for USD/PHP for year-end stood at 51, with the most bearish forecast at 56.
“The record high trade deficit…supports the view that PHP’s weakness will be the norm as the trade deficit widens further,” said an ING economist in February.
The chart below shows the PHP to USD exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.
Currency and money saving tips for Philippines
There is a lot more the Philippines than just Manilla so try to get out of the capital, do a little research before hand about the few possible bad areas and you will be fine. There are ATM's available in most decent sized cities but more than a few travelers have been caught without access to ATM's when getting out of the majors cities, and a lot of popular destinations are nature spots so carrying some cash on you is a good idea. Also using a Prepaid Travel Card can be a good idea so you don't have to take your credit card everywhere on you. Only drink from bottles water and make sure it is properly sealed when you buy it.
For getting around buses are the most commonly used means of transportation. Second to that are ferries. On arrival at the international airport the easiest, and most expensive, way to get a taxi is take the White Pre-Paid Taxi. First line on the right of exit. A trip to Makati or Ermita will cost you 500-600 pesos. Normal cheaper taxis are available upstairs on the 4th floor, these should be white coloured also.
For local trains in Manilla the three line LRT/ MRT elevated railways are a travel bargain and very cheap. While they don't go everywhere, an indirect trip via Taft and EDSA stations (connection is via an overhead footbridge then through Metropoint Mall) is a good way to avoid a taxi clogged in slow traffic.
Philippines Trip Checklist
Travel money for Philippines
Save money and time by Ordering your Philippine peso online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the PHP cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Philippine peso otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Travel Money for Philippines
Sending money to Philippines
When sending money to Philippines it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Philippine peso amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted PHP amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Philippines.
Bank Transfers to Philippines
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Philippine peso deposited into the recipient bank account in Philippines and less margins and fees kept by the banks!