Stock Commentary

BSP keeps interest rates steady

Merkado Barkada
BSP keeps interest rates steady

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) [link] said yesterday that its Monetary Board decided to keep rates steady. In doing so, the BSP said that inflationary risks “continue to lean toward the upside”, but that its latest forecasts showed that “inflation would settle close to the upper-end of the target range.” As for inflation expectations, the BSP said that those “remain well-anchored”. The Monetary Board said that it “deems it appropriate to ensure tight monetary policy settings until inflation settles firmly within the target range”, and indicated that such a stance would also “help keep inflation expectations anchored”. 

MB bottom-line: At least the BSP stopped talking about wage increases as a potential inflationary risk. That said, does anyone else detect an air of contradiction in what the BSP is saying? Perhaps contradiction is too strong of a term, but I get the growing sense that the BSP’s reasons for keeping rates high are somewhat diverging from its own analysis. The BSP says that its primary objective is price stability, so we can infer that it’s keeping rates high as a means of trying to suppress price increases, and yet the BSP has again and again told us that the driver for price increases is a problem on the supply side of the equation, not the demand side. Interest rate adjustments don’t impact supply-side problems, because interest rate increases are meant to suppress demand. We don’t have a demand problem. Adding to this is the BSP’s concern about maintaining a tight policy to keep inflation expectations anchored, despite noting just a paragraph earlier that inflation expectations were already “well-anchored”. This implies that there is psychological space for the BSP to lower rates within the framework of current expectations. This is picky stuff, I know, there are simply too many people and companies struggling under high rates to ignore the rapidly decreasing marginal utility of yet another cycle of the BSP’s conservative observation of the situation. Just my personal opinion. 


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Merkado Barkada's opinions are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any particular stock. These daily articles are not updated with new information, so each investor must do his or her own due diligence before trading, as the facts and figures in each particular article may have changed.

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