The country’s inflation rate, which has stabilized at 3 percent in the first two months this year, is seen as high as 5 percent and as low as 3.3 percent in March, based on analysts’ forecasts.
Some of the more prominent price watchers include Vic Abola, economist at the University of Asia and the Pacific, who projects inflation in March at an even 4 percent.
Michael L. Ricafort, who keeps tabs on prices for the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) projects it higher at 4.4 percent while Emilio S. Neri Jr. at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) casts it at a more moderate 3.9 percent.
Jonas Ravelas, chief strategist at Banco De Oro (BDO), expects a more benign inflation averaging only 3.6 percent during the month.
Ruben Carlo Asuncion, who watches prices for the Union Bank of the Philippines, casts it lower at 3.5 percent but still higher than the lowest inflation forecast of only 3.3 percent by Miguel Chanco at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Chanco’s forecast departs sharply from the highest projected inflation in March averaging 5 percent by Emmanuel J. Lopez, an economist at the Graduate School of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
All these numbers highlight the unexpected stability of prices in February when inflation stood unchanged and below consensus at 3 percent on account of slower food, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages and tobacco, clothing, furnishing and household maintenance, information and communication as well as restaurant and accommodation indices.
Housing, transport and recreation costs all went up in the February price survey by the Philippine Statistics Agency.