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BSP sees higher inflation in Nov

THE country’s headline inflation likely accelerated in November on higher power and food prices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday.

“The BSP Department of Economic Research projects November 2019 inflation to settle within the 0.9-to-1.7 percent range,” the central bank said in a statement.

The forecast was higher than the 0.8-percent print in October, but lower than the 6 percent posted in November last year.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is set to release official November inflation data on December 5.

“The increase in electricity rates, as well as higher prices of gasoline, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and selected food items are seen as the primary sources of upward price pressures for the month,” the Bangko Sentral said.

The Manila Electric Co.’s per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate for households consuming 200 kWh monthly increased by P0.4717 this month.

Energy companies raised the prices of gasoline by 80 to 85 centavos per liter, according to the Department of Energy. LPG prices also increased by 24 to 30 centavos per 11-kilogram cylinder.

“Meanwhile, inflation could be tempered by lower domestic rice prices and the appreciation of the peso,” the BSP added.

Latest PSA data show that prices of the staple dropped in the first week of November, with the average retail price of regular milled rice plunging by 0.5 percent from P37.02 per kilogram the week before.

Central bank data show that the Philippine peso averaged P50.72 a dollar from November 4 to 29 from the average of P51.50 a dollar the previous month.

“Looking ahead, the BSP will remain watchful of evolving inflationary conditions to ensure that the monetary policy stance remains consistent with the BSP’s price stability mandate,” the Bangko Sentral said.

On September 26, monetary authorities cut their 2019 inflation forecast to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent, while 2020 and 2021 projections were both kept at 2.9 percent.

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