Peso falls to seven-year low, stocks down again

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The peso hit a seven-year low, while the stock market bled again on Monday.

The local currency closed at ₱48.25 to the dollar, down 26 cents from last Friday. During intraday trading, it even fell to ₱48.26, its lowest level since 2009.

According to Bloomberg data, the peso has weakened by 3.9% in the past month – Asia's worst-performing currency.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi), meanwhile, ended the day at 7,632.46 points, dropping 1.18% from last Friday. In the last month alone, it has lost 2.7%.

The Philippines followed other financial markets across emerging Asia that came tumbling down on Monday.

"It's the sixth straight week of net foreign selling," Luis Limlingan, managing director of Regina Capital Development Corp., said in an interview. He said investors pulled out of emerging markets and flocked to the United States and the dollar as a safe haven amid the uncertainty.

Investors have been jittery ahead of the U.S. presidential debate on Tuesday, as well as the election on November. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are neck-and-neck in the race to lead the world's largest economy.

READ: 'Foreign investors care about money, not drug deaths' — biz leader

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. added that investors were still unsure over the Federal Reserve's next move.

The U.S. central bank has hinted at raising interest rates in December – its first time since 2015. Low interest rates have flooded the U.S. and much of the world economy with money since the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Philippine Stock Exchange President and CEO Hans Sicat said in a statement, "Perhaps it is also an indication of fund managers locking in gains, as the PSEi has delivered double-digit returns since the start of the year."

He pointed out that year-to-date, the stock market is still up 9.8% despite the recent dip.

Local factors could be stoking the volatility as well. Limlingan said foreign investors were wary of the new administration's policies against contractualization, mining, and online gambling.

Earlier, credit raters had also issued warnings about political uncertainty in the Philippines, citing President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial comments on foreign policy and the alarming rise in drug killings.

BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo blamed this "negative market sentiment" on the recent drop in the peso and stocks – a reaction, he felt, "may not really be justified." The fundamentals of the Philippine economy are strong and unchanged, he said in a text message.

Sicat was likewise optimistic that once the noise has died down, the market would see that the Philippines was a good investment.

"Developments on the local political front may be getting a lot of attention recently but we believe the story of the Philippine economy will remain to be the compelling driver for attracting investments," he said.