THE PESO ended flat against the greenback on Tuesday amid cautious sentiment ahead of the release of US inflation data and delays in additional vaccine arrivals.

The local unit closed at P48.555 per dollar, barely moving from its P48.56 finish on Monday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

The peso opened the session at P48.55 against the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P48.58 and its strongest point was at P48.525 versus the greenback.

Dollars exchanged increased to $451.9 million on Tuesday from $373 million the day prior.

Market caution ahead of expected consumer inflation data in the US caused the sideways peso-dollar trading on Tuesday, a trader said in an e-mail.

The US consumer price index was expected to be reported later on Tuesday. In February, it rose by 0.4% from January and by 1.7% a year earlier. Meanwhile core CPI, which excludes volatile items like food and fuel, increased 0.1% from a month ago and by 1.3% from February 2020.

Meanwhile, investor sentiment on delayed vaccine arrivals due to tight global supply also weighed on the peso, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

The Philippines received another 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines from Beijing on Sunday. However, many vaccine makers, including AstraZeneca, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, has put exports on hold temporarily to focus on domestic demand, Reuters reported. This is a risk to the country’s target to inoculate 70 million Filipinos by year end.

Latest data from the Department of Health showed 922,898 vaccines have been administered, where 872,213 and 50,685 were first and second doses, respectively.

For Wednesday, Mr. Ricafort expects the local unit to move within the P48.51 to P48.59 levels versus the dollar, while the trader gave a forecast range of P48.50 to P48.70. — L.W.T. Noble with Reuters