Philippine central bank: March annual inflation likely in 7.4%-8.2% range

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine annual inflation in March was expected to come in between 7.4% and 8.2%, with downward pressure seen from lower prices of petroleum and some food items, the central bank said on Friday, ahead of the release of the data on April 5.

High inflation, which at 8.6% in February was well outside the central bank’s target range of 2% to 4%, remains the top concern for monetary authorities, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Felipe Medalla reiterated earlier this week.

“The BSP remains prepared to respond appropriately to continuing inflation risks in line with its data-dependent approach to monetary policy formulation,” the central bank said in a statement.

The BSP last week hiked its benchmark interest rate further although at a slower pace of 25 basis points to 6.25%, and said its next policy move would depend largely on how consumer prices will behave in the coming months.

(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Ed Davies)