MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine annual inflation likely eased for a fifth straight month in October due to high base effects from the previous year as well as lower fuel and rice prices, a Reuters poll showed.
The median forecast in a poll of 10 economists was for the consumer price index to have risen 0.8% in October from a year earlier, rising at its slowest annual pace in more than three years, and slowing from the previous month’s 0.9%.
If the forecast proves to be accurate, it would be the third month in a row that inflation has fallen below the central bank’s 2%-4% target for the year.
Annual inflation reached a near-decade peak of 6.7% in September and October last year due to a surge in global oil prices, but it has since declined, allowing the central bank to reverse some of last year’s policy tightening.
The central bank slashed its benchmark interest rate PHCBIR=ECI for a third time this year in September to support economic growth, and Governor Benjamin Diokno has said it will likely be the last for the year.
Last month, it announced a 100 basis point cut in the banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) that will take effect in December. That will bring to 400 basis points the total RRR reductions it made this year.
Growth in the Philippines slipped to its weakest in 17 quarters in April-June, but authorities expect a rebound in the September quarter due to higher government spending and moderating inflation.
The country’s third-quarter gross domestic product data will be released on Nov. 7, ahead of the central bank’s policy meeting on Nov. 14, its second last for the year.
Reporting by Karen Lema, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips