Inflation quickens to 3-year peak in October


Posted at Nov 07 2017 10:02 AM

MANILA - Consumer prices rose 3.5 percent in October, at the fastest clip since 2014 and meeting economists' forecasts, government data released Tuesday showed.

This brought average inflation in the January to October period to 3.2 percent, compared to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' 2 to 4 percent target.

"We are hoping it's contained within that range. We know, as the economy is growing, inflation also tends to inch up," RS Lim and Co president Ali Yu told ANC's Market Edge.

Yu said the central bank was unlikely to raise interest rates when it meets on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters said higher fuel prices likely pushed inflation to 3.5 percent.

Policymakers have kept policy settings steady since the September 2014 rate hike of 25 basis points, as inflation has remained within the central bank's comfort zone despite a continuing robust growth of the domestic economy.

The central bank set the main rate at 3 percent when it moved to an interest rate corridor in June last year to make policy transmission faster.

Most analysts in the same poll believed the Bangko Sentral would keep key rates steady on Thursday and for the rest of the year. Two predicted a 25-basis-points rate hike as early as this week to keep demand driven price pressures in check.

Third-quarter GDP data, due to be released on Nov. 16, would likely show the economy grew faster than the previous quarter's 6.5 percent, according to economic planning chief Ernesto Pernia, driven by strong domestic demand and farm sector. -- with Reuters