MANILA - Annual inflation likely quickened for a third straight month in September on higher electricity and transport costs but the expected outcome is still within the central bank's comfort range, a Reuters poll showed.
The median forecast in a poll of 10 economists was for the consumer price index (CPI) to have risen 3.2 percent, the highest in 5 months, but within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' forecast of 2.8 to 3.6 percent for September.
Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and fuel items, is expected to have risen 3 percent in September from a year ago, the poll showed. This would match the same rate of increase in August.
A manageable inflation has allowed the central bank to leave the stance of monetary policy unchanged since it raised interest rates by 25 basis points in September 2014.
It set the overnight borrowing rate at 3 percent when it moved to an interest rate corridor system in June last year.
Some economists have predicted the central bank would raise interest rates as early as this quarter to keep demand-driven price pressures in check.
The central bank expects inflation to average 3.2 percent this year and 3.2 percent next year, both within its 2-4 percent target for 2017 and 2018.