Philippine inflation seen staying above target in April: poll

Reuters

Posted at May 03 2018 08:28 PM

MANILA - Philippine annual inflation likely moved further away from the central bank's 2 to 4 percent comfort range in April due to higher oil, electricity and rice prices, a Reuters poll showed.

The median forecast in a poll of 10 institutions was for the consumer price index (CPI) to rise 4.5 percent in April from a year earlier, above the 4.3 percent climb in March, but within the central bank's 3.9 to 4.7 percent forecast for the month.

Some economists expect inflation to peak at over 6 percent in the third quarter, driven by higher taxes imposed on some commodities starting this year, building the case for an interest rate increase this year.

Official annual inflation data would be released on May 4, ahead of the central bank's rate-setting meeting on May 10, the same day the government releases first-quarter GDP data.

The Philippine central bank said last month it was satisfied with its current policy actions despite a weaker currency, rising inflation and falling stocks, and future moves will remain driven by data.

It kept interest rates steady at its last policy meeting in March even as it recognized that inflation expectations have started to rise. 

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla has said the economy was strong enough to "absorb some policy tightening if warranted."