THE PESO could strengthen against the dollar this week ahead of the release of September inflation data and as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) chief said they would consider an off-cycle rate increase.

The local unit closed at P56.575 per dollar on Friday, strengthening by 40.50 centavos from its P56.98 finish on Thursday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

Week on week, the peso strengthened by 22 centavos from its P56.795 per dollar finish on Sept. 22.

The local currency opened Friday’s session at P56.75 against the dollar, which was also its weakest showing. Its intraday best was at P56.52 versus the greenback.

Dollars exchanged rose to $1.19 billion on Friday from $980.6 million on Thursday.

The peso strengthened on Friday as the dollar generally slid against other currencies and lower global crude oil prices, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

For this week, the peso could strengthen due to hawkish signals from the central bank and before the release of September inflation data on Thursday, Mr. Ricafort said.

BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. told Bloomberg last week that he is open to an off-cycle rate hike before their Nov. 18 meeting and ruled out cuts in the near term.

Meanwhile, a BusinessWorld poll of 17 analysts yielded a median estimate of 5.4% for September inflation, near the low end of the BSP’s 5.3-6.1% estimate.

If realized, September inflation would be faster than the 5.3% seen in August, but lower than the 6.9% in the same month last year.

For this week, the peso could range from P56.30 to P56.80 per dollar, Mr. Ricafort said.