HEADLINE inflation in the Philippines hit its slowest pace in 20 months in April at 2.2 percent, still within the central bank’s forecast range, with further declines in fuel costs weighing on housing, transport, communications and utility rates.
Growth in April consumer prices slowed from 2.4 percent in March and 4.1 percent in the year-earlier period. It was the slowest rise since August 2013, when inflation slackened to 2.1 percent.
The fourth month’s headline inflation ran within the central bank’s target range of between 1.9 percent and 2.8 percent. It fell below analysts’ estimates of between 2.3 percent and 2.9 percent.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released Tuesday showed core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, edged down to 2.5 percent in April from 2.7 percent in March, and from 2.9 percent recorded a year earlier. Core inflation from January to April averaged 2.5 percent.
Including those prices, headline inflation in April brought the year-to-date average to 2.3 percent. For full-year 2015, the central bank has set a target range of 2.0 percent to 4.0 percent.
Annual declines were recorded in the indices for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; while annual growth eased in transport and communications, food and non-alcoholic beverages; clothing and footwear; health; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.
BSP affirms policy stance
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. in a text message to reporters stressed that the April rate of 2.2 percent affirms the central bank’s outlook of manageable inflation and the appropriateness of its current monetary policy stance.
“We will, nevertheless, remain watchful of developments, especially the Fed actions and global market interpretations of such actions, how the interaction of these two factors are absorbed by our own financial markets and how domestic economic agents use these to shape their inflation expectations,” he said.