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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  May 2011

Costlier food propelled by fuel costs

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The Philippines’ central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), said rising oil prices in the international market can pose inflationary pressures on domestic food items.

BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. said because the prices of Dubai crude continued to hover above $110 per barrel, there may be “additional inflationary pressure coming from that side.” The BSP had assumed Dubai crude to average $110 this year.

“Dubai is the relevant price for us. So we have to see the impact of this continuing price pressures coming from that side. Until it stays above the $110 per barrel, it remains a concern,” Tetangco told reporters.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also expects higher prices of petroleum and electronic products to be a short term phenomenon.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Cayetano Paderanga Jr. said oil prices continued to surge due to mounting anxiety over political tensions in the Middle East and North Africa.

The price of Dubai crude oil averaged $100.2 per barrel in February this year from only $74.5 a year ago.

“Tight supply in electronics, brought about by logistical and infrastructure challenges in Japan may increase prices in the sector, and high prices will eventually weigh down demand,” he also said.

Despite rising international fuel prices, the strength of the peso is tempering imported inflation, Tetangco however said.

“The good thing is that we also have appreciation. Like the strong peso. Plus positive news from Moody’s saying that we could get an upgrade sooner than later. Also, Japan Credit Rating Agency upgraded its outlook on the Philippines from stable to positive. There’s country-specific factors that affect exchange rate, inflation, etc. While we want to look at what’s happening in the global economy, we should also take into account what specific condition on other countries,” the BSP chief said.

“So we’ll have to assess the effect of all these development in the next meeting of the Monetary Board,” he added.

The policy-making Monetary Board is scheduled to meet on May 5.

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AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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