THE PESO inched up against the dollar on Monday, as traders await the next move of North Korea amid rising tensions with the United States.

The local currency closed at P50.71 against the greenback, the lowest point during the session, but gained a centavo and a half from the P50.725 per dollar finish last Friday.

The peso opened stronger at P50.58 to a dollar, before reaching its P50.50 peak.

Dollars traded slipped to $788.7 million on Monday, from the $973.8 million during the previous session.

Traders said it was a quiet trading day, as all eyes are on North Korea’s next move after US President Donald J. Trump ramped up the rhetoric over the weekend, warning that its leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer.”

“Basically, there is a softer dollar since North Korea didn’t attack as expected. They have done the missile test, crossing the Pacific ocean, but they didn’t follow through,” the trader said in a phone interview yesterday.

“So the market sold starting on the previous trading day. Because that’s what you are looking out for, the political factor,” he added.

Without geopolitical volatility, the trader said the local currency will continue to strengthen.

Another trader said the peso followed the direction of its regional counterparts.

“I think we also saw dollar-Asia move higher which is led by the dollar-yuan offshore. So basically were just tracking the region,” he said in a separate interview.

He added the market saw sellers maintaining their selling position since Friday’s session.

“Given the strong move last Friday, naturally I think market players were emboldened by to get the long peso view, and given the strong move we were seeing, there were a lot of sellers since Friday, and it continuities that way today,” he said.

The first trader expects a P50.65 to P50.90 range against the greenback today, noting a thin trading session as markets carefully watch developments in the Korean Peninsula.

“I think there’s Fed speak, but anything that’s market moving, there’s none except the geopolitical tension which is very hard to predict.”

Another trader meanwhile forecasts the local unit to trade at a P50.60 to P50.80 range per dollar today. – E.J.C. Tubayan