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Philippine March inflation forecast at 2.2-3.1 pct

03-23-2012 15:23 BJT

MANILA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Philippine central bank predicts that the country's inflation rate, which slowed to 2.7 percent in February, is likely to lift again in March as a result of higher oil prices, a weaker peso and higher food prices.

Central bank governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said Friday the inflation was likely to range from 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent in March. "Inflation could be higher than February's rate of 2.7 percent if the impact of higher oil prices, the weaker peso and increases in prices of certain food items were not fully offset by lower utility rates and lower prices of some vegetables," Tetangco said in a text message.

It should also be possible for prices to go up in the coming months as a result of so-called second-round effects in which the impact of this week's provisional fare hike by 50 centavos, for instance, triggers an escalation of prices of other services or goods, according to Tetangco.

Already, the labor sector pushed for the legislative adoption of a 125-peso (2.9 U.S. dollars) wage hike to keep up with the rising cost of living in Metro Manila.

Tetangco acknowledged second-round effects were possible," resulting in higher inflation ranges ahead."

Nevertheless, Tetangco said there is no need to change the existing monetary policy settings as the anticipated inflation was not seen ranging beyond forecast averaging 3.1 percent this year and 3.4 percent next year. "Our latest assessment is that our policy stance remains appropriate. However, the BSP will continue to closely monitor developments to see if these would result in further second-round effects," Tetangco said.


Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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