UOB Group’s Senior Economist Julia Goh and Economist Loke Siew Ting assess the latest inflation figures in the Philippines.

Key Takeaways

“Following rebasing exercise to 2018, the Philippines’ headline inflation eased to a 14-month low of 3.0% y/y in Jan, from a downwardly revised 3.2% in Dec 2021 (previous: 3.6%). It came in line with our estimate (3.1%) but higher than Bloomberg consensus (2.8%).”

“Despite the adoption of the 2018 base year resulting in a significant easing of the full-year inflation rate since 2019, upside risks to inflation remain from prolonged global supply chain bottlenecks, elevated global oil prices, expected currency weakness, adverse weather, petitions for transport fare hikes, and expiry of tariffs on pork imports. We continue to expect inflation to stay above the mid-point of BSP’s 2.0%-4.0% target range for the greater part of the year, bringing the 2022 full-year inflation rate to 3.5% (2021: revised down to 3.9% from 4.5% previously).”

“With inflation expected to stay within BSP’s target range through 2022 and the growth outlook still subject to downside risks, we believe that BSP will continue to keep a patient hand on its policy levers in 1H22. The Monetary Board will meet for the first time this year on 17 Feb to assess its monetary policy stance.”

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