May 2018 inflation likely to breach target again – BSP

MANILA, Philippines – May inflation figure is projected to breach another record high, settling within 4.6% to 5.4%, according to the projections of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Department of Economic Research.

The estimates are much higher than the government's 2% to 4% target and above April's 5-year high of 4.5%.

The BSP forecasts inflation to be at 4.6% on average this year and will only go within desirable territory in 2019.

BSP economists said "the higher domestic petroleum prices amid geopolitical tensions in the Middle East as well as the sustained increase in rice prices present upward price pressures for the month."

The rate could be partly offset by "lower electricity rates in areas served by the Manila Electric Co. along with lower prices of selected fruits and fish items as supply conditions normalized for the month."

The BSP gave assurances it would keep track of price trends and "ensure monetary policy stance remains appropriate."

Official figures are expected to be released on Wednesday, June 6.

The central bank earlier raised interest rates by 25 basis points to cap the accelerating inflation rate caused by the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or Train law and rising oil prices in the global market.

Some lawmakers are attempting to suspend the Train law amid the rising prices of basic commodities.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno commented earlier this week that Filipinos "should be less of a crybaby" as oil prices and other goods are more stable now than the previous years. Diokno also said the poorest Filipinos enjoy subsidies and free social services anyway. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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