Headline inflation likely held steady at 2.4 percent in February, according to an estimate by an economist at Standard Chartered Bank – the same rate that marked the slowest pace in 17 months in January.
StanChart’s estimate falls within the central bank’s projection of a 2.2 percent to 3 percent range for headline inflation in February.
Given the continued fall in energy prices during the month in review, StanChart economist Jeff Ng said a policy rate cut by the central bank may not yet be totally ruled out in case inflation stays consistently at the lower end of the target rate of 2 percent to 4 percent set for this year.
“We expect inflation to have been unchanged at 2.4 percent year-on-year, representing a 0.1 percent month-on-month increase. Energy inflation likely continued to drop due to lower crude oil prices,” Ng said in the bank’s Asia data previews.
Official inflation data for February is due for release by the Philippine Statistics Authority on March 5.
Headline inflation slowed to 2.4 percent in January from 2.7 percent in December.
Ng noted that electricity prices, which fell 11.3 percent in the second month of the year, have been on a steady downward trend since October, when they rose 5.4 percent.
Prices of fuels and lubricants dropped 13.1 percent year-on-year, following a 0.2 percent increase in October 2014, he added.