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Financial News: Philippine Central Bank Keeps Rates On Hold

Philippine Central Bank Keeps Rates On Hold

12/17/2020 - 04:59:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The Philippine central bank maintained its key interest rates as widely expected on Thursday after lowering the rate by a quarter-point in November.

The Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, or BSP, decided to retain the overnight reverse repurchase facility rate at 2.00 percent.

The bank had reduced its key rate by 50 basis points each in June, April and March and by 25 basis points in February and November.

The interest rates on the overnight deposit and lending facilities were retained at 1.50 percent and 2.50 percent, respectively.

"The Monetary Board believes that an accommodative monetary policy stance, together with sustained fiscal initiatives to ensure public welfare, should quicken the economy's transition toward a sustainable recovery," the bank said.

Inflation has risen slightly due to the sharp increase in global oil prices and the higher-than-expected food inflation in November. However, policymakers expect future inflation path to remain firmly within the government's 2-4 percent target over the policy horizon.

The bank viewed that optimism over the delivery of vaccines has lifted market confidence, supporting improved prospects for global growth. On the domestic front, the board also observed early indications of improved mobility and sentiment.

While recent natural calamities could pose strong headwinds to growth, the further easing of Covid-19 related restrictions will facilitate the recovery of the economy in months ahead, the bank added.

With the recovery set to disappoint and inflation likely to stay on target, more easing is likely next year, Alex Holmes, an economist at Capital Economics, said. The economist has pencilled in 50 basis points of cuts.

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