Inflation likely peaked in Q3 2018 – Bangko Sentral

MANILA, Philippines – Economists of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) projected inflation has peaked in the 3rd quarter of the year, due to the absence of further price shocks.

The BSP's Department of Economic Research said on Wednesday, October 31, that it expected inflation for October to settle within 6.2% to 7%.

"Upward price pressures from domestic petroleum prices and water rates in Manila Water and Maynilad-serviced areas could be offset by the lower prices of rice and other food items as well as the downward adjustment in Meralco power rates," the BSP said.

The central bank also said it will continue to monitor evolving trends in prices and inflation expectations, and will "undertake necessary measures towards its commitment to price stability."

Meanwhile, First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) and economists of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) projected inflation to have already peaked in September due to rice prices falling and oil prices receding from September's peak.

FMIC and UA&P economists also projected another interest rate hike by a maximum of 25 basis points before the end of 2018, despite falling rice, food, and oil prices, and amid an increase in jeepney fares by November.

The BSP aggressively raised interest rates 4 times this year by a total of 150 basis points to manage inflation expectations.

Inflation hit a 9-year high of 6.7% in September.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will report inflation data for October on November 6. –

Ralf Rivas

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