The country’s headline inflation could have picked up to 4.7 percent this month on higher global oil and fish prices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) projected on Friday.
In a statement, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said February’s point inflation estimate was within the central bank’s 4.3- to 5.1-percent forecast range.
The outlook was faster than the 4.2-percent consumer price growth in January and the year-earlier’s 2.6 percent.
If true, the projected figure would be the fastest in over two years, or since December 2018’s 5.1 percent.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will release official February inflation data on March 5.
“Upward price pressure for the month emanate from the continued uptick in global crude oil prices and elevated fish prices,” Diokno said.
Downward pressures, meanwhile, would come from “the implementation of the temporary price caps on meat products for NCR (National Capital Region), stable rice prices and lower power rates in Meralco-serviced areas,” he added, using the Manila Electric Co.’s acronym.
On February 8, the government implemented a 60-day price ceiling on pork and chicken products in Metro Manila. Under Executive Order 124, the price ceiling per kilogram of kasim (shoulder) and pigue (back leg or ham cut) is P270, P300 for liempo (belly), and P160 for dressed chicken.
Meanwhile, Meralco trimmed its per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate for households consuming 200 kWh monthly by P0.0704 this month.
“Looking ahead, the BSP stands ready to take necessary policy actions to ensure the delivery of its primary mandate of price stability conductive to a balanced and sustainable economic growth,” Diokno said.
At its first rate-setting meeting on February 11, the BSP’s policymaking Monetary Board kept overnight borrowing, lending and deposit rates at 2.00 percent, 1.50 percent and 2.50 percent, respectively.
“The Monetary Board is of the view that the manageable inflation outlook continues to allow the BSP to maintain an accommodative policy stance, and thus complement crucial fiscal policy measures in supporting economic activity and market confidence,” Diokno said then.
Despite this, the central bank hiked its inflation outlook from 3.2 percent to 4 percent for this year on the back of supply-side pressures.