By Melissa Luz T. Lopez
Inflation probably dropped more in February, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Thursday, citing the chances that the global increase in prices for most used products would fall below four percent, as rice prices dropped.
In a statement, the Department of Economic Research of the BSP gave an estimate of 3.7-4.5% on the global price increases last month, indicating that inflation could hold its downward trend in the fourth consecutive month to Starting from 4.4% in January.
The Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) will publish the official inflation data on Tuesday. Inflation stood at 3.8% in February 2018.
The unit of the central bank said that the higher costs of electricity and oil could increase prices last month. The energy distributor Manila Electric Co. He said that utility rates would rise at P0.5682 per kilowatt-hour to cover higher generation rates. At the same time, retail fuel pump prices also rose four weeks in February to reflect crude oil price movements around the world, as oil-producing countries agreed on new supply cuts.
"These can be partially offset by the lower prices of rice and other agricultural products given the appreciation of the weight and broad supply, particularly rice, after the recent harvest and arrival of rice imports," said the BSP.
PSA data show a sustained decline in prices of peaches and rice from the second week of February.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed on February 14 the Rice Tariff Law that replaced the import tariffs for basic products with tariffs: 35% of the rice from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); 40% for imports within the minimum volume of access (MAV) of 350,000 metric tons, regardless of the country; and 180% for previous MAV imports from non-Asian countries.
The economic managers and the BSP have the relaxed import rules that will enter into force on March 5 to reduce staple retail prices to P7 per kilogram and inflation at 0.7-0.8 percentage points.
On the other hand, the peso continued to strengthen against the dollar, returning to P51 level: $ 1 in the last two days of the month.
The central bank said that "he will keep an eye on trends in price trends" and ensure that policy adjustments help maintain price stability.
From an average of 5.2% in 2018, the central bank expects inflation to be reduced to 3.1% this year, reducing the target rate to 2-4%. Inflation is seen as less than four percent in March, deputy governor of the BSP Francisco G. Dakila, Jr., said after the policy meeting on February 7 of the Monetary Council.