THE PESO strengthened slightly against the dollar on Monday due to demand for the peso ahead of US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell’s testimony.

The local unit closed yesterday’s session at P51.86 against the greenback, three centavos stronger than its P51.89-per-dollar close on Friday.

The peso traded stronger the whole day, opening the session at P51.80 versus the dollar. Its worst showing stood at P51.88, while yesterday’s intraday high was at P51.75 against the greenback.

Dollars traded on Monday dropped to $516 million from the $656.3 million booked the previous session.

“The peso strengthened today amid profit-taking from the strong dollar last week,” a trader said on Monday.

Meanwhile, another trader attributed the peso’s strength on demand for the currency within the trading session.

“I think there’s some demand. I’m not sure what industry, probably oil or energy. That’s why the dollar-peso is supported,” the trader said.

A third trader said the pair traded within the range as market players are waiting for more cues to spark movement. “For this week, not only for [Tuesday], the market will be watching for [Jerome H.] Powell’s testimony and his views regarding several issues.”

Mr. Powell, who took office in February after Janet L. Yellen stepped down, will testify before the US Congress to discuss the economy and, possibly, the Fed’s future policy path.

“I think the market will focus on Powell’s take on recent developments, his outlook on growth and inflation and the Fed’s moves regarding the number of hikes this year,” the third trader said.

For today, the second trader expects the peso to move between P51.75 and P52, while the first trader gave a slightly wider range of P51.75 and P52.05. The third trader sees the currency trading between P51.65 and P52.05 versus the dollar. — K.A.N. Vidal