MANILA: Headline inflation in the Philippines hit 3.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018, the Central Bank (CB) of the Philippines said on Friday.
The CB said in a report the higher inflation was due mainly to selected food items. "Inflation pressures during the review quarter were traced mainly to higher price increases in selected food commodities, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco products," the report said, reports Xinhua.
"Year-on-year headline inflation rose to 3.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from the quarter-ago ...using the new 2012-based consumer price index (CPI) series," the report said. It said this rate settled near the upper end but remained within the government's target range of 3.0 percent plus or minus 1.0 percentage point for the year.
Meanwhile, using the 2006-based CPI series, year-on-year headline inflation rose to 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from 3.3 percent in the previous quarter. Likewise, core inflation climbed to 4.3 percent from 3.1 percent. "The three alternative measures of core inflation similarly increased during the quarter," the report said. Moreover, inflation expectations of private sector economists for March 2018 showed that mean inflation forecasts for 2018 and 2019 were higher, relative to the results in December 2017.
Analysts noted that key upside risks to 2018 inflation include the tax reform implementation and possible second-round effects, higher and volatile global oil prices, and U.S. monetary policy tightening.
"Present monetary policy settings are seen to be appropriate given the prevailing outlook for inflation and economic activity," the report said.
Despite ongoing price pressures, the report said inflation remains in line with the target range over the policy horizon.
Nevertheless, it said authorities see the balance of risks to the inflation outlook as remaining tilted toward the upside, which argues for maintaining vigilance in setting the stance of monetary policy going forward.