Bangko Sentral to keep rates steady: Reuters poll


Posted at Sep 18 2017 05:03 PM

MANILA - The Philippine central bank looks certain to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Thursday as inflation is expected to remain moderate, a Reuters poll found. 

In the survey, 13 economists said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas would keep the overnight borrowing rate steady at 3.0 percent. 

Five economists who gave long-term views said the central bank would eventually hike rates but they differed in the timing, with some expecting it as early as in the fourth quarter.

The Philippine central bank has not altered it policy since it raised rates by 25 basis points in September 2014, as the Southeast Asian nation remained in a sweet spot of tame inflation and strong growth. 

It set the rate at 3.0 percent in June last year when it moved to an interest rate corridor to make policy transmission faster.

Inflation averaged 3.1 percent in the eight months to August, within the central bank's 2-4 percent target for this year and next, despite the economy growing at an enviable pace of more than 6 percent in the first half of the year. 

At its August policy meeting, the first by its new central bank governor Nestor Espenilla, the central bank slightly raised its inflation forecasts for this year and next to 3.2 percent.