September prices expected to have risen faster


MANILA  -Overall inflation in the Philippines is expected to have climbed some more, to somewhere in the range of 5.3 percent to 6.1 percent in September after ticking up to 5.3 percent in August, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Before that, inflation was on a downtrend for six months from 8.7 percent in January to 4.7 percent in July.

The BSP’s goal is to keep inflation at a full-year average of within the range of 2 percent to 4 percent. So far, from January to August, the average was at 6.6 percent.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will announce by Oct. 5 the official readout for the September rate of growth in the prices of goods and services commonly purchased by the average Filipino household.

READ:  Philippine inflation rose to 5.3% in August

In a statement, the BSP said higher prices of fuel, electricity, and key agricultural commodities, as well as the peso depreciation were the primary sources of upward price pressures in September.

“Meanwhile, lower rice and meat prices could contribute to downward price pressures for the month,” the central bank added.

“Going forward, the BSP will continue to monitor developments affecting the outlook for inflation and growth in line with its data dependent approach to monetary policy formulation.

Rate hike possible

Earlier this month, BSP Governor Eli Remolona Jr. said monetary policy makers were looking at a possible resumption of hikes in the benchmark interest rate at their next meeting scheduled in November.

READLikely Nov rate hike won’t be last, says BSP

Remolona also said that if there would be a rate hike in November, it would probably not be the last one.

On Thursday, at the sidelines of an economic briefing hosted by the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Remolona told journalists there was “a little bit of a scope” for an off-cycle change in the BSP policy rate.

“Off cycle” means a rate change in between policy meetings of the Monetary Board (MB). In their last meeting held Sept. 21, the MB kept the policy rate unchanged for the fourth consecutive meeting since this was pegged at 6.25 percent last March.

The last time that the MB went for an off-cycle change was in July 2022 when the policy rate was raised by 0.75 percentage point to 3.75 percent.

“[A rate change before the November meeting] is possible, depending on the numbers that are coming out,” Remolona said, adding that one such number is the headline inflation readout for September.

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“But one number does not make for a policy hike,” the chief monetary policy maker said.

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