Inflation that aids economic growth not a concern: budget chief


Posted at Aug 29 2018 09:49 AM | Updated as of Aug 29 2018 09:51 AM

Inflation that aids economic growth not a concern: budget chief 1
A fruit vendor attends to her stall in Manila. Erik de Castro, Reuters/File

MANILA -- Inflation is not a concern as long as it supports economic growth and concerns over the economy overheating are "overrated," Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday.

Inflation will return to "normal levels," within the government's 2 to 4 percent target, by 2019 after it peaks by the third quarter this year, Diokno said, quoting Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla.

"We're not concerned with inflation as long as growth is happening because we want to sustain our growth. These to me are hiccups," Diokno told ANC's Early Edition.

Consumer prices rose 5.7 percent in July, accelerating for the seventh straight month and holding at the sharpest spike in 5 years. Official data for August will be released on Sept. 5.

Espenilla raised the overnight borrowing rate for the third consecutive meeting last July, for a total of 1 percentage point this year, bringing the benchmark to 4 percent.

Diokno said he was confident Espenilla was "on top of the situation."

"They just raised rates. The impact of that is not short-term, its long term. There's a lag before it takes effect. Maybe it breaks the expectation that's the short term effect. Let's hope it does that," he said.

Asked about concerns over overheating, Diokno said such were "overrated."

"We are expanding the capacity of the economy. That's why we are spending on infrastructure, no overheating," he said.