UOB Group’s Senior Economist Julia Goh and Economist Loke Siew Ting review the latest interest rate decision by the BSP.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) kept its overnight reverse repurchase (RRP) rate unchanged at 6.50%… after taking into account a sharp slowdown in Oct inflation (details in report). The decision came against its own forward guidance of a follow-through hike during the off-cycle rate move last month (on 26 Oct), and our expectation of a 25bps hike, but matching Bloomberg consensus.
The Monetary Board (MB) judged that a rate pause today will allow previous policy interest rate adjustments to continue to work through the economy, particularly the impact on firms and households as credit growth decelerated further. It also reflects a downgrade in BSP’s inflation outlook with the riskadjusted inflation forecasts (which were first introduced in the 26 Oct 2023 offcycle meeting) tweaking lower to 6.1% for 2023 (from 6.2% projected in Oct), 4.4% for 2024 (from 4.7% previously) and 3.4% for 2025 (from 3.5% estimated in Oct).
Overall, the latest monetary policy statement still sounded hawkish. Likewise, official comments during the post-meeting briefing continued to suggest a meeting-by-meeting approach and data dependent in the near term. Recognizing this and extremely fluid global conditions, we see a 50:50 chance for BSP to hike one more time by 25bps at the next and final meeting of this year on 14 Dec. Until we have another big positive surprise in the nation’s inflation report for Nov and/or the US Fed officially announces an end to its rate hiking cycle in the coming month, we maintain our call for the RRP rate to end the year higher at 6.75% for now.