Philippine inflation to stay at 14-year high in February

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Philippine inflation may stay at a 14-year high in February, according to the central bank, putting pressure on the monetary authority to sustain its most-aggressive tightening in two decades.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects consumer prices to rise anywhere within 8.5 percent and 9.3 percent this month from a year ago, it said in a statement Tuesday.

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That compares with the actual 8.7 percent level in January, the fastest since November 2008.

The BSP, which has raised borrowing costs by 400 basis points since May, said it “will continue to adjust its monetary policy stance as necessary to quell price pressures and tamp spillover inflation effects.”

Governor Felipe Medalla said on Friday that there’s scope for BSP to slow rate increases to a quarter point next month.

Still, central bank officials have maintained readiness to take action against rising inflation expectations, suggesting some runway for policy tightening.

In contrast, Southeast Asian peers Indonesia and Malaysia have paused on rates amid signs of easing inflation. Elsewhere in Asia, India is grappling with stubborn price pressures, although authorities there have slowed the rate action to 25 basis points.

In the Philippines, February inflation was mainly driven by higher prices of liquefied petroleum gas, pork, fish, egg and sugar, the BSP said.

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