Rate seen gaining pace to 3.1% – 3.9% from 2.7% in Jan
Headline inflation figures due out next week may show further acceleration in February to between 3.1 percent and 3.9 percent, the central bank said, after the rate registered its highest pace in more than two years in January.
The estimate by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for February shows a sharp jump from 0.9 percent a year earlier, and from 2.7 percent posted in January this year—the fastest since November 2014, when inflation registered 3.7 percent.
The increase in pace stemmed from higher fuel, transport and electricity prices, the central bank said in an estimate released on Monday.
Official February inflation data is scheduled for release by the Philippine Statistics Authority on March 7, Tuesday.
“The increase in domestic petroleum prices, jeepney and taxi fares, and electricity rates of Meralco [Manila Electric Co.]-serviced areas could exert upside pressures to inflation during the month,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a text message to reporters on Monday.
Oil price hike
Earlier this month, seven oil companies raised their diesel prices by P0.30 per liter and gasoline prices by P0.50 per liter.
The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board also decided to approve a P1 peso hike in the minimum jeepney fare to P8 in February.
Meralco also announced an increase this month of P0.92 per kilowatthour to the electric bills of typical households, bringing the total February rate to P9.09 per kWh.
“Nonetheless, the uptick in the projected inflation is seen to be temporary as upside pressures are largely supply-side in nature,” Tetangco said.
The BSP forecasts 2017 inflation to average 3.5 percent, or within the 2 percent to 4 percent target range of the government.
The central bank has said it would continue to monitor closely emerging price conditions to ensure price stability conducive to a balanced and sustainable economic growth.