Inflation at 5.9 percent in last quarter of 2018 – BSP

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A Filipino customer buys produce from a market vendor in Metro Manila. ABS-CBN NEWS

MANILA – Inflation for the fourth quarter of 2018 averaged at 5.9 percent from 6.2 percent the previous quarter, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas released Friday showed.

Stable food prices and easing non-food inflation contributed to the decline, BSP assistant governor Francisco Dakila said in a press briefing.

The consumer price index rose to 5.1 percent in December from 6 percent, its slowest since July 2018, government data showed.

Inflation eases to 5.1 percent in December, lowest since June 2018

The BSP expects inflation to fall within its 2 to 4 percent target this year, with an average of 3.18 percent.

In December’s monetary policy meeting, the BSP had kept interest rates steady after 5 successive increases as inflation started to ease from near 10-year highs.

Dakila said the approval of the rice tariffication bill can also help further alleviate food inflation this year.

“The BSP stands ready to respond to any remaining and emerging risks that could compromise its price stability mandate,” Dakila said.

The World Bank in December slightly lowered its economic forecast for the Philippines for 2019 to 6.4 from 6.5 percent. But BSP deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo earlier said a 7 percent growth this year rate is “very doable” since inflation will no longer be a factor. (ABS-CBN News)

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