September 27, 2018 / 8:10 AM / a year ago

Philippine hikes rate by 50 bps to 4.50 pct

MANILA, Sept 27 (Reuters) - The Philippine central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points on Thursday to tame inflation and support the struggling peso.

The central bank’s Monetary Board voted to increase the rate on its reverse repurchase facility to 4.5 percent, as expected by 14 of 15 economists in a Reuters poll.

The central bank has now raised rates four times in five months, by a total of 150 bps, in a bid to tamp down inflationary pressures, which have been steadily rising since January due to higher taxes, a weak peso, and rising food and fuel costs.

In August, inflation surged to a more than nine-year high of 6.4 percent, way above the central bank’s 2-4 percent comfort range.

Reporting by Karen Lema and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Kim Coghill

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