Inflation likely ranged at 2.5% to 3.3%, mainly driven by an increase in oil prices, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said on Friday.
“Higher domestic prices of gasoline and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) provide upward pressure during the month,” Mr. Diokno said in a Viber message to reporters on Friday.
Oil prices in the global market have seen some upward correction in the past months as restriction measures are eased and with demand recovering.
Data from the Energy department showed since Aug. 11, domestic oil companies have raised the price of gasoline by a total of P0.96 per liter.
The data also showed the price of LPG rose by P0.15 per kilogram (kg) or about P1.65/11-kg cylinder since Aug. 1. AutoLPG prices have likewise been raised by P0.10 per liter.
On the other hand, Mr. Diokno said factors that can offset the faster rise in commodity prices include the lower electricity prices paired with the strengthening of the peso alongside “broadly stable food prices”.
Power rates have been going down for the fourth straight month. For August, Manila Electric Company said electricity rates will be lower by P0.2055 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to P8.4911 per kWh.
Meanwhile, the peso reached the P48 versus the greenback level in the recent weeks. The local unit closed at P48.485 per dollar on Friday, appreciating by 14.50 centavos from its previous finish of P48.63. Its Friday close is also its strongest in more than three years or since it ended trading at P48.48 against the dollar on Nov. 4, 2016.
August inflation data will be released on Sept. 4.
Last month, the consumer price index rose 2.7%, quicker than the 2.5% in June as well as the 2.4% in July 2019. Year-to-date, inflation averaged 2.5%.
The central bank last week raised its 2020 inflation forecast to 2.6% from the 2.3% it gave in June, still well within its 2-4% target.
The Monetary Board decided to maintain the benchmark rates last week, citing the stable inflation and early signs of economic recovery. — Luz Wendy T. Noble