THE PESO may move sideways against the dollar this week ahead of the release of February inflation data.

The local unit closed at P56.015 per dollar on Friday, strengthening by 18.5 centavos from its P55.20 finish on Thursday, Bankers Association of the Philippines data showed.

Week on week, however, the peso weakened by 11.5 centavos from its P55.90 close on Feb. 23.

The local unit was supported by US personal consumption expenditures price index data, which showed US inflation remained sticky in January, Security Bank Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces said in a Viber message.

For this week, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message that Philippine inflation data for February will likely dictate peso-dollar trading.

February consumer price index (CPI) data will be released on Tuesday, March 5.

A BusinessWorld poll of 16 analysts conducted last week yielded a median estimate of 3% for the February CPI, within the central bank’s 2.8-3.6% forecast.

If realized, February inflation would be slightly faster than the 2.8% print in January but below the 8.6% seen in the same month a year ago.

For this week, Mr. Ricafort expects the peso to move between P55.70 and P56.20 per dollar, while Mr. Roces sees it ranging from P55.90 to P56.40. — A.M.C. Sy