MANILA, Philippines - Inflation came in at 3.5% in September, the lowest in 10 months, due to "slow annual rate of price adjustments posted in all the commodity groups," the National Statistics Office said Tuesday.
The September figure was below the central bank's forecast range of 3.6% to 4.5%, and the 4.1% median estimate in a Reuters poll of 12 economists. It was the lowest since the 2.8% annual inflation rate recorded in November 2009, and was down from the 4% recorded last August.
Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy items, moderated to 3.8% in September from 4.2% in August.
Price hikes for food and beverage improved to 3.2% from 3.5% in August, while those for fuel, light and water eased to 11.8% from 15.3%.
The monetary authority has signaled a benign view of inflation, suggesting it was not in a rush to tighten policy, though it emphasized the need to closely watch the potential impact of strong capital inflows on the economy.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo said last month the central bank, which next reviews policy on October 7, saw no urgent need to adjust rates as inflation was consistent with its forecasts of 4% this year and 3.25% in 2011.
The policy rate has been at a record low of 4% since July 2009.
The Philippines is one of few Asian countries which have yet to raise rates since the global financial crisis. - With a report from Reuters