Philippines Central Bank Chief Expects One More Rate Hike This Year, Possibly in March

The Philippine central bank will likely raise interest rates one more time this year and that could happen at its next monetary policy meeting in March, most likely by 25 basis points, its governor said on Friday. Inflation running at a 14-year high of 8.7% in January has been a concern for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), but if the consumer price index (CPI) is negative in February on a month-on-month basis, there would be no need for a rate hike, governor Felipe Medalla told reporters. The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points on Feb. 16 at its first rate-setting meeting this year. The monetary authorities, which have raised rates eight times for a total of 400 basis points since last year, are due to next meet on March 23. Medalla, speaking on the sidelines of a BSP dinner, said he hoped non-monetary measures would slow down inflation and the BSP was working under a scenario of inflation being under 4% by November.

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