Bangko Sentral hikes benchmark rate for fourth straight meeting


Posted at Sep 27 2018 04:05 PM | Updated as of Sep 28 2018 12:18 PM

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas main office in Manila. File/Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas raised its benchmark borrowing rate by 50 basis points on Thursday, the fourth straight adjustment this year, bringing the overnight borrowing rate to 4.5 percent. 

This was the first time that the central bank hiked rates four times in a year since the BSP adopted an inflation-targeting regime. It was also the first time that the BSP implemented back to back hikes of 50 bps.

Processed by ABS-CBN Data Analytics. Source of raw data: Philippine Statistics Authority and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)

The central bank has now raised rates by a total of 150 bps or 1.5 percent, in a bid to tamp down inflationary pressures, which have been steadily rising since January due to higher taxes, a weak peso, and rising food and fuel costs. 

Inflation hurtled to 6.4 percent in August, exceeding government and market forecasts as monsoon rains in the previous month hit farm output, adding to pressure from high oil prices in the world market.

The BSP has also hiked its inflation forecast for 2018 to 5.2 percent and for 2019 to 4.3 percent. 

An economist from Standard Chartered Bank earlier said that inflation is likely to remain elevated in the fourth quarter amid the damage caused by typhoon Ompong. 

- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News; and Reuters