Philippines Lifts Key Rate by 25 Bps to 4.75%

The central bank of the Philippines raised its key overnight reverse repurchase rate by 25bps to 4.75 percent on November 15th, 2018, as widely expected. It is the fifth straight hike in borrowing costs this year, bringing interest rate to the highest since 2009. The decision was primarily driven by intensifying inflationary pressures, especially after higher wages and transport costs were approved recently. Also, the BSP increased its inflation forecasts for 2018 to 5.3% from 5.2% while cut its forecast for 2019 to 3.5% from 4.3%. For 2020, inflation is seen at 3.3%. The interest rates on the overnight lending and deposit facilities were likewise lifted accordingly.
Bangko Sentral NG Pilipinas | Luisa Carvalho | 11/15/2018 9:40:28 AM
In October 2018, the inflation stood at 6.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month but remaining at the highest level since February of 2009. The latest reading is also well above the upper bound of the Bank’s target range of 3.0 percent ± 1.0 percentage point in both 2019 and 2020.

Excerpts from the Statement by the Bangko Sentral NG Pilipina:

"While the latest inflation forecasts show inflation settling within the target band of 3.0 percent ± 1.0 percentage point in both 2019 and 2020, after considering the impact of non-monetary measures, including the rice tariffication bill and the suspension of the oil excise tax, the Monetary Board decided to raise the policy rate by 25 basis points given the upside risks to the inflation outlook and given that inflation expectations have remained elevated as supply-side and possible wage pressures continue to drive price developments.

At the same time, the Monetary Board believes that prospects for the domestic economy remain generally favorable and allow some scope for a measured adjustment in the policy rate to rein in inflation expectations and preempt further second-round effects. The Monetary Board deemed it necessary to respond with proactive policy action to help temper the risks to the inflation outlook, including those emanating from the continued uncertainty in the external environment amid tighter global financial conditions and trade tensions among major economies.

Nevertheless, the Monetary Board continues to emphasize the need for follow-through non-monetary measures to mitigate the impact of supply-side factors on inflation.

The BSP remains prepared to take appropriate policy actions as needed to ensure the achievement of its price and financial stability objectives."

Philippines Lifts Key Rate by 25 Bps to 4.75%