BSP: Inflation in December settled within 2.9-3.6% range
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday said it expects inflation in December to settle within the range of 2.9-3.6 percent, similar to its forecast in November and faster than a year ago.
“Higher domestic petroleum and rice prices could contribute to upward price pressures, which could be partly offset by the decline in Meralco’s electricity rates and stronger peso,” the BSP said in a statement, citing the projection of its department of economic research.
The projected range for December was higher than the actual 2.6-percent inflation rate posted in the same month last year.
The BSP projected the same range for the month of November, while the actual rate of increase in prices of basic goods that month eased to 3.3 percent following the three-year high of 3.5 percent in recorded in October.
The BSP said that its forecast range for December “brings full-year 2017 inflation to average at 3.2 percent, well within the target for the year.”
During its last meeting on monetary policy last Dec. 14, the BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board maintained its inflation forecasts of 3.2 percent for 2017, 3.4 percent for 2018, and 3.2 percent for 2019.
As of November, headline inflation averaged 3.2 percent.
The government targets inflation to settle within the range of 2-4 percent this year.
Last year, the inflation rate was 1.8 percent, below the 2-4 percent target.
The Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee last Dec. 22, meanwhile, kept the inflation target for the period 2018 to 2020 at 2-4 percent on expectations of “manageable” increases in prices of basic goods notwithstanding the inflationary impact of the first tax reform package to be implemented starting early next year.
Last Thursday, the BSP said “the current manageable inflation environment could be sustained over the medium term.”
“Inflation projections and expectations continue to indicate that inflation could settle within the current inflation target, although there are upside risks to the inflation outlook. Moreover, the inflationary impact of the potential increases in international commodity prices is assessed to be moderate, supported by lower pass-through to inflation of exchange rate and external commodity price inflation,” the BSP had said.
According to the BSP, “expectations of healthy economic growth alongside the tax reform program would create demand-side impetus to inflation.”
President Duterte last week signed into law package 1A of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (Train) under Republic Act No. 10963, which starting January 2018 will slash and restructure personal income tax rates that stayed the same for two decades, while also jacking up or slapping new taxes on consumption of oil, cigarettes, sugary drinks and vehicles.
“Nonetheless, the favorable effect of sustained investment spending by the national government on the economy’s productive capacity would help temper inflation pressures,” according to the BSP.
BSP estimates showed that inflation could increase by 0.85-1.2 percentage points in 2018 and by 0.4-0.55 percentage point in 2019 due to the Train. /jpv
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