Monetary execs to examine November inflation hike

MANILA – Philippine monetary officials will look into the increase of the November inflation rate in their rate-setting meet on Dec. 12.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno, in a tweet after the release of the November 2019 inflation report Thursday, said the 1.3 percent inflation in the 11th month this year is within the central bank’s forecast.

He is referring to the 0.9-1.7 percent projection of the central bank for the November 2019 inflation rate.

He explained that the latest figure, which is higher than the 0.8 percent last October, “accords with (the) outlook of a gradual pick-up to target midpoint in 2020-2021.”

The policy-making Monetary Board, in its rate-setting meet on Nov. 14, slashed the central bank’s average inflation forecast for this year to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent but kept the 2.9 percent average inflation forecast for the next two years.

“BSP’s Monetary Board will consider new data and potential risks at its meeting next week on Dec., 12,” Diokno added.

Relatively, the BSP, in a statement, attributed November’s inflation rate to higher prices of electricity, liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline and select food items.

The rate of jumps in the prices of these items was, however, offset by the tamed rice prices as well as a stronger peso, it said.

“The latest inflation outturn is consistent with the BSP’s prevailing assessment that inflation has bottomed out in October and is expected to gradually approach the midpoint of the target range in 2020 and 2021,” it said.

The statement said that “risks to the inflation outlook are on the upside for 2020, but are tilted to the downside in 2021.”

Upside risks to inflation include those coming from the volatile global oil prices and the possible impact of the African Swine Fever (ASF) while downside risks include the “global trade and policy uncertainty as well as geopolitical tensions.”

“The BSP will consider all the latest economic developments here and abroad in the Monetary Board’s policy meeting on Dec. 12 to ensure that the monetary policy stance remains consistent with the BSP’s price stability objective while being supportive of economic growth,” the statement added. (PNA)

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