THE PESO ended sideways on Thursday as the market opted to stay on the sidelines as the year comes to an end.

The local unit closed at P50.821 against the greenback yesterday, appreciating by less than a centavo from its Dec. 23 finish of P50.83 per dollar, according to data published on the Bankers Association of the Philippines’ website.

The peso opened the session at P50.80 versus the dollar. Its weakest showing was seen at P50.85, while its intraday best was at P50.675 against the greenback.

Dollars traded climbed to $1.076 billion from $757 million on Monday.

UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said sideways trading has been the trend for the past few days.

“As the year ends, the movement is usually sideways. Market players are staying on the sidelines and would rather wait for next year,” Mr. Asuncion said in a text message.

Meanwhile, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort attributed the slight appreciation of the local unit to positive signals about the US-China trade talks.

“The peso exchange rate slightly strengthened amid improved global market risk appetite recently after US President Donald J. Trump signalled that a preliminary US-China trade deal is done,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.

For today, UnionBank’s Mr. Asuncion sees the peso moving within the P50.70-50.90 band, while RCBC’s Mr. Ricafort gave a forecast range of P50.50-50.80.

Meanwhile, most Asian currencies firmed in year-end trade on Thursday as comments from China boosted expectations of Washington and Beijing signing a trade deal early in the new year.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said their economic and trade teams were in close communication about detailed arrangements for the Phase 1 deal’s signing and other follow-up work.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would have a signing ceremony to sign the deal agreed to this month.

Beijing has not yet confirmed specific components of the deal that were released by US officials, but a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry said last week the details would be made public after the official signing.

The Chinese yuan, however, weakened 0.1% after Wednesday’s strong gains. The central bank lifted its official midpoint prior to the market open, breaching a key threshold.

The South Korean won and the Taiwan dollar strengthened 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. — L.W.T. Noble with Reuters