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Philippine Feb. Inflation Slows More Than Expected

Philippines annual inflation slowed more than expected in February to the lowest since September 2009, the National Statistics Office said Tuesday.

The headline inflation rate fell to 2.7 percent from 4 percent in January. This was primarily due to the slowdown in the annual growth rate of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index. Economists were expecting the annual rate to slow to 3.2 percent.

Month-on-month, consumer prices remained flat in February compared to January's 0.4 percent increase.

The annual growth of food and non-alcoholic beverages eased to 1.4 percent from 3.2 percent. The clothing and footwear cost rose at a slower pace of 3.7 percent, after increasing 3.9 percent a month ago. The housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels index climbed 4.6 percent.

The central bank lowered its key interest rate twice this year to support economic activity. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last reduced the overnight borrowing rate on March 1, to 4 percent from 4.25 percent.

BSP said the risks to the inflation outlook is seen to be broadly balanced, with the subdued pace of global economic activity expected to temper the rise in commodity prices.

A separate report from the statistical office showed that producer price inflation fell to 1.1 percent in January from 1.6 percent in December. On the other hand, the monthly rate of increase accelerated to 2 percent from 0.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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