Analysts project steady BSP rates

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Analysts are seeing steady Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas interest rates for the whole of 2021 after the government reported that the country’s headline inflation rate remained at 4.5 percent in April.

 

On Wednesday, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said tighter lockdowns reduced demand conditions and inflationary pressures, which resulted in a steady inflation rate in April.

 

“Thus, monetary policy would remain to be accommodative, at least to keep the key local policy rate unchanged at the record low of 2 percent, as the economy needs all the support measures that it could get, as monetary policy would do more of the heavy lifting for the economic recovery amid the lack of government funds for any additional stimulus measures,” he added.

 

Meanwhile, ANZ Research analysts see prices to remain above the central bank’s target range for the most part of 2021.

 

“The dent in economic recovery due to a recent spike in Covid (coronavirus disease 2019) cases and subsequent restrictions will keep the central bank in accommodative stance through 2021. We also believe that the BSP’s focus will be more on growth than inflation now,” they said.

 

Factoring in the April inflation rate, HSBC economist Noelan Arbis, said the average figure is likely to settle slightly above the Bangko Sentral’s 2-4 percent target range by the end of the year.

 

“With inflation easing, the pressure on the BSP to act against it has also dissipated. We expect the BSP to keep its policy rate unchanged at 2.00 percent for the remainder of the year,” Noelan added, noting that an additional rate cut at this point would not do much to boost the economy.

 

ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Antonio Mapa, on the other hand, said he expects inflation to ease as early as next month, with 4.5 percent possibly the peak for the year should price pressures continued to dissipate.

 

But as economic activity remains subdued, he projected the central bank’s monetary policy “to remain on hold for the whole of 2021 to provide support to the economy and we believe inflation will begin to decelerate further in May as supply side issues are addressed by supply side remedies.”

BY MEYNARD DELA CERNA

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