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UPDATE 1-Philippine c.bank keeps rates steady, cites manageable inflation

Economic IndicatorsFeb 11, 2021 16:40
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© Reuters.

* BSP keeps RRP rate at record-low 2.0%
* BSP says risks to inflation 'broadly balanced'
* BSP sees 2021 inflation at 4%, cuts 2022 forecast

(Adds quotes, inflation forecasts, background)
By Neil Jerome Morales
MANILA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The Philippine central bank kept
its monetary policy settings steady on Thursday to support the
country's pandemic-hit economy, saying inflation is expected to
remain elevated but manageable in the coming months.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) kept its overnight
reverse repurchase facility rate PHCBIR=ECI at a record low of
2.0%, in line with market expectations.
The rates on the overnight deposit and lending facilities
were likewise kept at 1.5% and 2.5%, respectively.
The risks to the inflation outlook appear to be "broadly
balanced", BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said.
"Tighter supply of meat products owing in part to the
African Swine Fever outbreak in the country could lend further
upside pressures on inflation," he said.
"However, the ongoing pandemic may continue to pose downside
risks to demand and to the inflation outlook."
The BSP now forecasts average inflation this year to be at
the upper-end of its 2%-4% target range, from 3.2% previously.
But it lowered its inflation forecast for next year to 2.7%
from 2.9%, well within the same target range.
"The manageable inflation outlook continues to allow the BSP
to maintain an accommodative policy stance," Diokno said.
Inflation hit a two-year high of 4.2% in January due to meat
and vegetable supply constraints. Some economists have ruled out further policy easing this
year, while others have raised the possibility of a rate hike.
The BSP slashed rates by a cumulative 200 basis points last
year, at a time when the economy saw its worst contraction on
record due to the pandemic. Despite an unprecedented policy easing by the BSP that
included massive buying of government securities, banks have
remained risk-averse in extending loans.
Bank lending fell for the first time in more than 14 years
in December, reflecting weak consumer and business
activity.

UPDATE 1-Philippine c.bank keeps rates steady, cites manageable inflation
 

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