MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said Tuesday the measures implemented by the government have yet to make an impact on the inflation rate, which again quickened in January.
"As I said, the importation of many of the agricultural products, which have been a large part of the inflation rate... we have already taken some measures so that the supply will be greater and so that will bring the prices down but that will take a little time," Marcos said according to a statement released by Malacanang.
Inflation in January quickened to 8.7 percent, the highest since November 2008 and faster than the 8.1 percent inflation in December. This was higher than even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' estimate of 7.5 to 8.3 percent. The Philippine Statistics Authority said inflation was largely pushed by higher housing rental, power and water rates as well as the high prices of select food items.
But the President insisted that inflation has already peaked and will start declining in the succeeding months. Marcos pointed out the dip in the prices of fuel and agricultural products, and said he believes that "this is going to be as high as it's going to get."
The Palace said the temporary easing of import restrictions, price monitoring, and targeted social support, together with measures to raise agricultural productivity and ensure energy security were among the moves being undertaken by the government to ease prices.
BPI Lead Economist Jun Neri meanwhile told ANC that following the faster-than-anticipated inflation in January, February’s inflation outlook remains high at around 8.5 to 9 percent,
With inflation exceeding expectations, ING Bank Manila’s Senior Economist Nicholas Mapa said the BSP may hike interest rates by as much as 50 basis points in its next policy-setting meeting next week.
Marcos meanwhile expects interest rates to be lowered in the first half.
"And my continuing estimate or forecast is that by – we can see the lowering of the interest rates by the second quarter of this year," Marcos said.
Marcos’ economic managers expect inflation to average 4.5 percent this year before easing back to within the target range of 2 to 4 percent by 2024.