THE PESO could be broadly steady against the dollar this week, supported by the continued inflow of remittances and as interest rates remain elevated.

The local unit closed at P55.57 per dollar on Friday, weakening by seven centavos from its P55.50 close on Thursday, Bankers Association of the Philippines data showed.

Week on week, the peso depreciated by 20 centavos from its P55.37 close on Dec. 29.

The peso opened Friday’s session steady at P55.50 against the dollar. Its intraday best was at P55.475, while its weakest showing was at P55.78 versus the greenback.

Dollars exchanged jumped to $2.05 billion on Friday from $1.72 billion on Thursday.

The peso depreciated against the dollar on Friday after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it would limit its intervention in the foreign exchange market, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said last week they will finalize a new framework this year to make the peso more competitive and reduce restrictions in the foreign exchange market.

The peso was also dragged lower by a stronger dollar after the US jobs report eased expectations of a rate cut by the US Federal Reserve soon, Mr. Ricafort added.

The monthly nonfarm payrolls report showed the US economy added 216,000 new jobs in December, Reuters reported.

The jobless rate held steady at 3.7%, down from most forecasters’ expectations for it to rise, prompting concerns that the Fed’s long battle to tame inflation may have further to run.

The US central bank last month kept the fed funds rate unchanged at 5.25-5.5% for the third straight time after it hiked borrowing costs by a cumulative 525 basis points (bps) from March 2022 to July 2023.

The Federal Open Market Committee will hold its first policy meeting this year on Jan. 25-26.

For this week, the peso could be “relatively stronger and stable” amid expectations of elevated interest rates, Oikonomia Advisory & Research, Inc. President and Chief Economist John Paolo R. Rivera said in a Viber message.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas raised borrowing costs by 450 bps from May 2022 to October 2023, bringing the policy rate to a 16-year high of 6.5%.

The Monetary Board will hold its first meeting this year on Feb. 12.

The peso will also continue to be supported by remittances, Mr. Rivera said.

“With the sustained influx of remittances, the strength of the peso is reinforced. As the holiday season ends and the new year starts, we can expect minimal movements in the exchange rate next week given the prevalent conditions I mentioned,” he said.

For this week, Mr. Ricafort sees the peso ranging from P55.35 to P55.85. — AMCS with Reuters