Cheaper rice, fuel to cap June inflation, says BSP
MANILA, Philippines — Prices of consumer goods and services are expected to have risen between 2.2-3 percent in June – lower than the previous month’s faster pace – due to the combined effects of lower rice and petroleum prices, central bank economists said Friday.
The Department of Economic Research of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a statement that the June inflation rate, which follows the 3.2-percent pace of price increases in May, could also be restrained by a downward adjustment in electricity rates.
At the same time, domestic prices of basic goods and services are also expected to feel the benefits of a strong peso, which makes imported raw materials denominated in foreign currencies cheaper to buy, the central bank’s economists said.
The expected June inflation range is lower than BSP’s forecast of 2.8-3.6 for May, which preceded the government’s official announcement of a slightly faster inflation rate a few days later.
If confirmed, the benign price regime being expected for this month will allow BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno to resume the monetary easing that was put on hold last week after the surprise uptick in the inflation rate.
This latest forecast jibes with an earlier statement made by outgoing Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo who said the monetary regulator was expecting inflation rate for 2019 to come in at an average of 2.7 percent, revising the 2.9 percent forecast set just last month.
The forecast for the range of increase of prices of basic goods and services for 2020 was also cut slightly to 3 percent, from the previous expectation of a 3.1-percent average.
Meanwhile, banks’ reserve requirement ratio – currently the highest level in the region – is in the middle of a staggered process of being lowered from May to July to 16 percent from 18 percent.
BSP’s overnight borrowing rate, which influences the prices that banks charge on their retail and wholesale loans, was cut in early May by 25 basis points to 4.5 percent. The country’s monetary policy direction was reversed that month after being tightened by 175 basis points last year to fight off inflation.
“Going forward, the BSP will remain watchful of the evolving inflation environment to ensure that the monetary policy stance remains consistent with the [central bank’s] price stability mandate,” the economists said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority is scheduled to release the inflation data for June on July 5, Friday.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.