Philippine Inflation Surges to Highest in More Than Three Years

Vendors sell flowers, candy and toys ahead of Valentines Day in the Binondo district of Manila. (Photo: Getty Images)

By Siegfrid Alegado and Ditas Lopez

Consumer prices in the Philippines rose at the fastest pace in more than three years in January as the costs of food, beverages and tobacco rose.

The inflation rate rose to 4 percent, up from 3.3 percent in December, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. That exceeded all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of 14 economists, and was the quickest since Oct. 2014.

The onus is now on Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to start tightening monetary policy, or at least signal a more hawkish stance when it decides on interest rates on Thursday. Most economists surveyed before the inflation data predicted the rate would be held at 3 percent.

Inflation pressure is rising after a tax law that raised levies on fuel, sugary drinks and cigarettes was implemented in January.

 

To contact the reporters on this story: Siegfrid Alegado in Manila at aalegado1@bloomberg.net; Ditas Lopez in Manila at dlopez55@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net; Karl Lester M. Yap

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