MANILA — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will likely pause its interest rate hike in the next meeting as inflation decelerated for the fourth straight month in May, House Ways and Means Chair Joey Salceda said on Tuesday.
Inflation eased to 6.1 percent in May, from 6.6 percent in April. However, it remains above the government target of 2 to 4 percent.
“Inflation continues its downward momentum year-on-year, and is in line with the BSP’s expectations. So, I expect Governor [Felipe] Medalla and his predecessor to pause the BSP’s interest rate hike regime barring any major changes in rates by the US Federal Reserve,” Salceda said in a statement.
But Salceda said the slowdown in price level is "rather theoretical for ordinary households."
Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and select food items, also remains elevated, despite easing to 7.7. percent.
“We need to sustain efforts to improve food supply, lower logistics costs, and keep the prices of basic services under control,” he said.
'SOMETHING IS OFF' ON BREAD, ONION PRICES
Salceda also urged the agriculture sector to "take a closer look" at onion and bread prices.
National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the Philippine Statistics Authority is closely monitoring the prices of onion after it reversed its downward trajectory in prices last month.
He said red onion now retails for P180 per kilo compared to P164 last April, while white onion retails for P180 against P152 the previous month.
Mapa said rice had also shown a slight increment.
Meanwhile, Salceda also cited sugar as a "glaring target" with 31.6 percent inflation.
The lawmaker said he would lodge an official query with the Bureau of Customs on the price levels of imported wheat.
"Bread prices are also much higher than expected. Something is off...” Salceda added.