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BSP confident that ’12 inflation will remain at the lower end of 3-5% target

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Deceleration of the inflation rate last June to 2.8 percent from month-ago’s 2.9 percent made the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) maintain its stance that rate of price increases this year will stay at the lower of the government’s three to five-percent target.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) reported Thursday that inflation rate in the first half this year averaged at three percent.

Core inflation remained at 3.7 percent last June from month-ago’s level, resulting to a 3.5-percent average for the six-month period.

In a mobile phone message to reporters, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. traced the slower inflation rate to lower increases in utility and fuel rates as well as transport fares.

He said the steady core inflation rate as well as lower inflation rate “support our assessment of a manageable inflation outlook.”

“The still weak global growth prospects, the recent appreciating peso trend and the generally benign inflation forecast of most market participants set against our country's current above-trend economic growth path support our view that inflation will remain close to the low end of our target range,” he said.

He also cited that price of oil in the world market has gone down.

“That said, we continue to be watchful particularly of developments in the Middle East, to check their impact on oil price volatilities and our own domestic growth,” he said.

“We will take appropriate action to help ensure our inflation targets are not breached either at the upper or the lower bounds,” he added.

Central bank’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB) cut BSP’s policy rates by a total of 50 basis points to record-low level in two consecutive meetings last January and March to support growth of the domestic economy.

To date, the overnight borrowing rate is at four percent and the overnight lending rate is at six percent.

The Board kept the rates during its policy rate setting meet in April and June as the manageable inflation environment provides leeway for monetary officials to further assess the impact of the rate cut earlier in the year.

In the first quarter this year, the domestic economy surpassed all expectations after rising by 6.4 percent.

The Board will have its next policy rate meeting on July 26.

Analysts have earlier projected monetary officials to hold rates even until the first quarter of 2013 because of manageable inflation outlook.

by: PNA




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