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BSP sees Jan. inflation clocking in at 3.5-4%

Inflation rate likely settled at a faster pace this month but within 3.5 to 4.0 percent, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Wednesday.

Consumer prices are expected to have been driven mainly by higher prices of petroleum products and the newly implemented the tax reform program.

“The BSP Department of Economic Research projects January 2018 inflation to settle within the 3.5-4.0 percent range,” the BSP said in a statement.

“The increase in the prices of domestic petroleum products on account of higher global crude oil prices along with higher food prices due to weather-related disturbances could contribute to the rise in inflation for January 2018,” it said.

Inflation settled at 3.3 percent last December and at 2.7 percent in January 2017.

The BSP acknowledged price pressures were stoked by higher excise taxes on fuel, sugar-sweetened beverages under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law which took effect this month.

“The increase in prices could be partly be offset by lower electricity rates in Meralco-serviced areas for the month,” it said.

Meralco announced a cut of P0.5260 per kilowatt-hour in electricity rates this January.

Inflation settled at 3.2 percent for the full-year 2017 and at 1.8 percent in 2016.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is scheduled to release January's inflation figures next Tuesday, February 6. —Ted Cordero and Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News