BSP chief cautions against quick policy pivot

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Eli M. Remolona warned against “sudden reversals” of monetary policy when asked about the possibility of a rate cut in an interview with Nomura Holdings Inc. earlier this month.

“If there’s a chance that we might have to raise rates again after we start cutting, we don’t want to take the risk from these quick reversals,” Mr. Remolona said in a transcript of conversation with Nomura’s chief Asean economist Euben Paracuelles that the central bank sent on Friday.

It is “prudent” for BSP to still pause on the policy rate if there are no large inflation shocks and if there are mixed signals from the data, particularly on the economy, according to the transcript.

The nation is not “out of the woods yet” on inflation, and the BSP is watching new supply shocks and El Niño to see if further monetary tightening is needed.

“If we don’t tighten when those shocks materialize, then expectations could get out of hand, inflation will feed on itself, and it gets much harder for us,” the BSP chief said, adding that the central bank wants “to be comfortable that inflation is staying within” its 2%-to-4% target.

Mr. Remolona’s comments were made before the government reported Thursday that second-quarter economic growth decelerated to 4.3% from a year ago on above-target inflation, borrowings costs at a 16-year high and government underspending. — Bloomberg