MANILA, Philippines - Annual inflation in June may have accelerated to a two-year high on continued increases in food and fuel prices, a poll of economists revealed.
The consumer price index may have risen 4.9% in June from a year earlier, after increases of 4.5% in May and 4.3% in April, according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 11 economists.
If realized, the figure would be the highest rate since March 2009, when inflation was 6.4%.
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The central bank has forecast annual inflation rate of between 4.6% and 5.5% for June but said price pressures were manageable.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco said last week the central bank was monitoring the impact of developments in Europe and the US on domestic liquidity, inflation and capital.
The central bank's target is to keep average inflation this year between 3% and 5%. Officials have projected inflation would peak in the fourth quarter.
Given that outlook, some analysts think the central bank could leave interest rates steady at a policy review this month, after it unexpectedly refrained from raising them at a mid-June review.
Reserve requirements could rise again at the review, after an increase in June to dampen liquidity pressures. Another one percentage point increase would take reserve requirements to 21%, the level before the global financial crisis.
The BSP kept its key policy rate at 4.5% last month after two rate increases totalling 50 basis points in March and May.
The Philippines edged closer to investment-grade rating after Fitch upgraded the country's credit rating to one notch below investment grade last month, one notch higher than ratings by Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service. - Reuters