THE PESO closed sideways against the greenback on Wednesday after the release of stronger June manufacturing data as well as a weaker dollar on concerns over higher infections in the US.

The local unit finished trading at P49.82 per dollar yesterday, inching up by a centavo from its P49.83 close on Tuesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened the session at P49.76 per dollar, which was also its intraday best. Meanwhile, its weakest was at P49.87. Dollars traded rose to $681.45 million from the $642.73 million seen on Tuesday.

The stronger peso came on better manufacturing data, said Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort.

“The peso closed slightly stronger after stronger manufacturing data almost back to expansion mode and the highest in four months or since February,” he said in a text message.

According to IHS Markit, the country’s Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 49.7 in June, still in contractionary territory but better than the 40.1 seen in May.

The increase in the June index signals “further movement toward stabilization in the Filipino goods-producing sector” as the country’s movement restrictions are starting to be relaxed, IHS Markit said.

Meanwhile, a trader attributed the peso’s gain to weaker sentiment for the greenback as infections continue to surge in the US.

“The peso appreciated slightly as the dollar continues to weaken amid a spike in US coronavirus cases and dimming hopes of economic resumptions,” the trader said.

For today, Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P49.70 to P49.95 while the trader expects the local unit to move within the P49.75 to P49.95 band. — L.W.T. Noble