THE PESO moved sideways against the dollar on Friday, with strong US data and the passage of the tax reform plan in the world’s largest economy tempered by political tensions.

The local unit closed at P50.95 versus the greenback on Friday, losing five centavos from its Thursday close of P50.90.

The peso opened stronger at P50.80. Its intraday low was registered at P50.97, while its high was at P50.74 versus the dollar.

Dollars traded dropped to $719.6 million from Wednesday’s P885.1 million.

Traders interviewed said market players shifted their attention back to the dollar, which was boosted by upbeat US fundamentals.

“There was just sideways movement today, although the dollar appreciated slightly following positive developments on the US tax reform and strong US data on manufacturing and industrial production,” Land Bank of the Philippines market analyst Guian Angelo S. Dumalagan said in an e-mail on Friday.

Mr. Dumalagan referred to the passage of the tax reform package by the Republicans that would slash corporate tax from 35% to 20%, making businesses in the US more profitable and competitive.

However, for Union Bank of the Philippines chief economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, the ascent of the greenback might have been tempered by “a report that President [Donald J.] Trump’s election campaign were subpoenaed for documents about the possible Russian interference in the last US presidential elections.”

“The Philippine data released [on Thursday] did not create a big impact on the peso trading since everyone expected that the Philippine GDP (gross domestic product) [will post higher rate],” the trader said.

The trader added that the dollar bounced back during afternoon trading, mainly driven by the continuous selling in the previous days.

“[I]t bounced back in the afternoon, [probably since] the market is oversold considering that the selling is continuous for the past few days,” the trader said. — K.A.N Vidal