THE PESO strengthened slightly against the greenback on Monday following the release of data showing a decline in local manufacturing activity. 

The local unit closed at P48.02 per dollar on Monday, inching up from its P48.023 finish on Tuesday, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed. 

The market was closed for holidays from Dec. 30 to Jan. 1.

The peso opened Monday’s session at P49.02 against the dollar. Its weakest showing was at P48.035 while its intraday best was at P48.015 versus the greenback.

Dollars traded increased to $873.75 million on Monday from the $731.25 million seen on the last trading day of 2020.

The peso inched up versus the dollar after the release of data showing a contraction in the country’s manufacturing activity, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said via text.

“This would lead to softness in imports data that would reduce demand for dollar,” Mr. Ricafort said.

The IHS Markit Philippine Purchasing Managers’ Index stood at 49.2 in December, contracting further from the 49.9 logged in November. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

For today, Mr. Ricafort said the peso could move within the P47.99 to P48.05 band versus the dollar. — LWTN