Feb inflation grows to 2.5%

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Headline inflation picked up pace to 2.5 percent in February from 2.4 percent in January, but decelerated from 4.1 percent recorded a year earlier, official data showed on Thursday.

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The February figure released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) came within the central bank’s forecast range of between 2.2 percent and 3 percent for the month, as well as private analysts’ estimates of between 2.4 percent and 2.7 percent.

The PSA noted mixed price movements among the commodity groups during the month.

“While negative annual rates were still observed in the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels and transport indices, these rates were lesser compared with those in January,” it said in a statement.

The PSA added that slower rates were seen in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.

The rest of the commodity groups held steady from the previous month’s growth pace while the communications index slowed, it said.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the February rate of 2.5 percent puts the year-to-date average at 2.4 percent.

In a text message to reporters, Tetangco stressed that inflation over the policy horizon is seen remaining manageable.

“While we see the stance of policy still appropriate at this time, we continue to watch global developments, including possible strong reversals in oil price trends and changes in investor sentiment, which could create market volatility and affect inflation expectations,” he said.

The government has set an inflation target of between 2 percent and 4 percent for this year until 2018.

MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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