MANILA - Philippine inflation likely picked up for the first time in six months in February, reflecting a bounce in fuel prices and higher electricity costs, but the overall outlook for inflation is expected to stay manageable due to easing food prices.
The median forecast in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts was for the consumer price index to have marginally risen to 2.5 percent from a year earlier after a 2.4 percent annual climb in January.
The estimate is well within the central bank's 2.2-3.0 percent forecast for the month and its official target of 2-4 percent, supporting views it will leave interest rates on hold in the near term.
Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, is also likely to register a faster print of 2.4 percent after the previous month's 2.2 percent rate.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco told Reuters on Feb. 23 the central bank can afford to leave its policy settings on hold for most of this year, and the timing and magnitude of any interest rate hike would not be determined by the U.S. Federal Reserve's actions.