BSP hikes ’17, ’18 inflation forecast

MANILA- Philippine monetary officials on Thursday hiked the central bank's inflation forecast for 2017 and 2018 after noting the risks from oil price increases and weaker peso, among others.

In a briefing Thursday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the latest 2017 inflation forecast was 3.5 percent while next year's figure was 3.1 percent.

These are higher than the 3.3 percent and three percent forecasts for 2017 and 2018, respectively, during the meeting of the policy-making Monetary Board (MB) in December 2016.

The Board also considered other factors such as the increase in minimum wage in June 2016.

Rate of price increases trekked back to within the government's two to four percent target range for 2016-20, starting in September 2016 when it rose to 2.3 percent from the previous month's 1.8 percent as oil prices continued to climb.

BSP officer-in-charge Nestor Espenilla Jr., during the same briefing, said risks to inflation outlook was titled on the upside due to possible increase of utility rates as well as impact of the government's tax reform program, which fiscal officials hope to be approved by lawmakers in the second half of the year.

"Inflation expectations are also aligned with the inflation target over the policy horizon," he added.

In January 2016, inflation rose to 2.7 percent from month-ago's 2.6 percent. (PNA)

Source: Philippines information agency

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