THE PESO dropped against the dollar on Thursday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of jobs data in the US and amid the ongoing rhetoric of President Donald J. Trump on tariffs.

The local currency finished at P52.03 against the dollar yesterday, losing five centavos from its P51.98 close on Wednesday.

The peso opened flat at P51.98 versus the dollar, which was also its best showing for the day. Its intraday low, meanwhile, was at P52.05 to the greenback.

Dollars traded thinned to $453.7 million on Tuesday from the $692.25 million that changed hands in the previous session.

Traders interviewed over the phone on Thursday said the dollar-peso pair continued to trade sideways.

“The pair traded fairly quiet [yesterday,] with a smaller volume than [on Wednesday],” a trader said, adding that market players was being very cautious ahead of the US jobs data release on Friday.

Private companies added 235,000 new jobs in February, according to an ADP and Moody’s Analytics report released on Wednesday. Though this was better than the market consensus of 195,000 according to a Reuters poll, the February figure was slightly lower than the revised data of 244,000 jobs created in January.

On the other hand, the trader added that the continued saga of Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on imposing tariffs also pushed investors to the sidelines.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that despite opposition from various countries, Mr. Trump will sign the measure of imposing a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum on Friday, saying that the government may provide exemptions for some countries.

“We expect that the president will sign something by the end of the week,” Ms. Sanders said in a press briefing on Wednesday. “And there are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security and possibly other countries as well based on that process.”

As a retaliatory measure, the European Union said it might impose tariffs on certain American goods such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon.

“So far, the tariff talk of Trump is still developing, so markets has been stepping back and waiting for the noise to die down,” the trader said.

For today, the trader expects the peso to move between P51.95 and P52.15 versus the dollar, while another trader sees the pair trading from P51.80 to P52.10. — K.A.N. Vidal with Reuters