Another off-cycle rate hike possible for BSP as Fed signals increase, analyst says


Posted at Oct 03 2022 10:44 AM

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It won't be impossible to see the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas implement another off-cycle interest rate hike depending on the US Federal Reserve's increase during its next meeting in early November, an analyst said on Monday.

An off-cycle rate hike is an adjustment on the benchmark interest rate done outside the scheduled monetary policy schedule. Doing so will reduce the interest rate differential between the 2 countries, which will help the peso gain some strength against the the dollar. 

The central bank in July announced a surprise 75-basis point rate hike to catch up with the aggressive US Fed's tightening adjustments to fight inflation. 

"The only concern there is that the US interest rates go up again and then we don’t match it, peso will depreciate," BDO Capital President Ed Francisco told ANC.

"We would not be surprised if they do an off-cycle increase again because if the Fed FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) will increase in November, when that happens, the peso might depreciate further. Hopefully not as much again because of the Christmas season," he added.

The Fed's meeting in early November is a few weeks ahead of the BSP's Nov. 17 monetary policy-setting meeting. 

Several analyst have warned that the gap between the adjustments of the Fed and the BSP, if no off-cycle hike will be implemented, could have an impact on the peso. 

The peso has been trading steadily against the US dollar in the last few days after hitting a new low of P58.999 and touching P59.02 intraday on Sept. 28.

Some analysts have also said the local currency could weaken for as low as P60 against the dollar but it could also gain some support from increased remittances during the holiday season.