THE PESO strengthened further on Thursday on positive market sentiment amid easing lockdowns.

The local unit closed at P50 per dollar yesterday, rising by 10 centavos from its P50.10 close on Wednesday.

The local unit started the trading day stronger at P49.93 per dollar. It hit a low of P50.03 and strengthened to as high as P49.92 against the greenback.

Dollars traded on Thursday went down to $602.2 million from $855.72 million recorded on Wednesday.

Yesterday’s close was the strongest in more than two years or since the peso closed P49.87 versus the dollar on Jan. 5, 2018.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said via text that the peso appreciated following the “hefty gains” seen in global stock markets as more economies started to reopen, allowing more businesses to bounce back.

Mr. Ricafort said the peso also ended stronger on the weakening US dollar.

He added that the market participants likely also priced in bets on inflation data to be reported today, June 5.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last week forecasted that headline inflation in May likely settled between 1.9% and 2.7%, giving a point projection of 2.3%.

For the trader, the local unit could weaken on Friday “ahead of likely downbeat US labor reports.”

Mr. Ricafort sees the peso closing between P49.85 and P50.10 per dollar today while the trader gave a forecast range of P49.85 to P50.15. — B.M. Laforga