MANILA - Philippine annual inflation is expected to have quickened modestly in January, a Reuters poll showed, still well within policymakers' comfort zone and affirming views the central bank will keep its key benchmark rate steady on Thursday.
The consumer price index is forecast to have risen 4.2 percent in January from a year earlier, a touch faster than the previous month's 4.1 percent increase.
Higher food costs likely underpinned the latest uptick in inflation though a decline in domestic fuel prices during the month is expected to have tempered overall consumer prices.
If the forecast is realized it would mark the highest rate since Nov. 2011, but still be within the central bank's 3-5 percent target for 2014.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to keep its overnight borrowing rate steady at a record low of 3.5 percent on Feb. 6, the same survey showed. All but one of 11 economists polled predicted no change, with the lone dissenter forecasting a 25-basis-point hike.