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BSP sees above-target inflation

INFLATION could have exceeded target last month due to higher food and energy prices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Monday.

The central bank released a 3.4- to 4.2-percent estimate for March inflation, data for which will be issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority on Friday.

A 3.4-percent result would be unchanged from February, while 4.2 percent means the end of three consecutive months of inflation having stayed within the BSP's 2.0- to 4.0-percent goal.

«Continued price increases of rice and meat along with higher domestic oil prices and electricity rates are the primary sources of upward price pressures for the month,» the central bank said in a statement.

«Meanwhile, lower prices of fruits, vegetables, and fish along with the peso appreciation could contribute to downward price pressures,» it added.

The central bank said it would «continue to monitor developments affecting the outlook for inflation and growth in line with its data-dependent approach to monetary policy decision-making.»

Last month, BSP Governor Eli Remolona Jr. said that inflation could hit 3.9 percent in March due to positive base effects.


The central bank expects the rate to top 4.0 percent in the second quarter due to the impact of the El Niño weather pattern on food prices, before returning to target later in the year.

Higher inflation could delay interest rate cuts, previously expected to start by June at the earliest, to later in the year.

The BSP's benchmark rate currently stands at 6.5 percent, the highest since 2007, following 450 basis points of rate hikes beginning in May 2022 as inflation surged in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The central bank's policymaking Monetary Board has decided to await the release of March inflation data and moved this Thursday's scheduled meeting to Monday.


Interest rates have been kept unchanged for the last three policy meetings and monetary authorities are likely to again hold fire next week.

Security Bank Corp. chief economist Robert Dan Roces said the BSP may opt to keep interest rates unchanged until August, aligning with government interventions to alleviate price pressures.

He cautioned