MANILA - Philippine inflation is expected to have cooled to an eight-month low in November due to lower food and transport costs, likely cementing the case for the central bank to stay on hold for several more months before resuming its tightening cycle.
The median pick in a Reuters poll of 11 economists on Wednesday showed that the consumer price index rose 4.0 percent in November from a year earlier, the lowest since March 2014, and well within the central bank's 3.5-4.3 percent estimate for the month.
Prices of the national staple, rice, have been steadily declining as grain imports have started to boost supplies, while declining oil prices have translated to lower transport costs.
Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, is forecast to have eased to a 5-month low of 2.9 percent. Inflation on a month-on-month basis was tipped unchanged for the third straight month at 0.1 percent.
Easing inflation and slower-than-expected growth in the third quarter will probably mean the central bank will not resume raising interest rates until well into next year.
The central bank is widely expected to leave the key policy rate steady at 4.0 for a second straight meeting on Dec. 11 after hiking rates by 25 basis points in each of July and September.
It has a 3-5 percent inflation target for 2014.