Philippine inflation rises to 4.5% in April 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Inflation, or the movement of prices of basic goods and services, rose to another 5-year high in April 2018.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on Friday, May 4, that inflation went up to 4.5% in April.

The PSA attributed the surge to increases in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; transport; as well as housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels.

But it noted that inflation for the food index alone at the national level slightly eased to 5.5% in April compared to 5.7% in March.

The government's inflation target range for 2018 is between 2% and 4%.

The Bangko Sentral ng PIlipinas (BSP) said in April during its report on 1st quarter inflation that it expects inflation to settle close to the high end of the target range in 2018, before settling around the midpoint of the target range in 2019.

The central bank's forecast is 3.8% for 2018 and 3% for 2019.

The faster inflation seen this year also raises questions on whether the BSP will raise interest rates at its next Monetary Board meeting on May 10. The central bank has so far kept its key interest rate at 3%.

On Thursday, May 3, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told reporters that the central bank would be ready to raise interest rates if needed.

Guinigundo had said: "Let us see on May 4. If inflation is higher than 4.3%, then it means something. If it's lower, then we have to reassess all the numbers. We will keep on monitoring those numbers. We have to look at it [from] a medium-term perspective. What's next in 2019?" –