Banko Sentrol ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Department of Economic research predicts February inflation at 3.7-4.5 percent.Inflation likely alleviated for another month in February, as lower rice prices and a stronger peso cushion upward price pressures from higher local pump prices and power rates, the BSP stated Thursday.If the low-end of the central bank unit’s forecast range for the month is realized, it will be slower than 4.4 percent recorded in January.
“Higher domestic oil prices and the upward adjustment in electricity rates provided upside price pressures to inflation during the month,” the BSP said.“These may be partly offset by lower prices of rice and other agricultural commodities given the appreciation of the peso and ample supply particularly of rice following the recent harvest and arrival of rice imports,” it added.
Higher excise taxes on certain commodities, food supply bottlenecks and rising fuel prices pushed up inflation last year, and it spiked to a near-decade high in September and October before it started to cool down.In a strong bid to fight capital outflow and keep inflation in check, the BSP lifted its policy rate by a cumulative 175 basis points last year before slamming on the brakes in December. The narrative as follows were at its first meeting for 2019, the policy-making Monetary Board left the key rate untouched at 4.75 percent.
The BSP also adjusted their inflation estimates, with consumer-price growth now seen averaging 3.07 percent in 2019 from an earlier projection of 3.18 percent, and 2.98 percent next year from 3.04 percent previously.“Looking ahead, the BSP will continue to be watchful of evolving price trends to ensure that the monetary policy stance remains appropriate to maintaining price stability that is conducive to a balanced and sustainable growth of the economy and employment,” the central bank said.