POLL-Philippine c.bank seen keeping rates steady again


* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/cb-polls?RIC=PHCBIR%3DECI
    * All 12 economists in poll expect no change in rates
    * Decision due on Thursday, June 22 at 0800 GMTMANILA, June 20 (Reuters) - The Philippine central bank is
widely expected to leave interest rates steady on Thursday, a
Reuters poll showed, but pressures on inflation are likely to
keep an interest rate increase on the cards this year.
    All 12 economists in the poll predicted the central bank
would keep the overnight borrowing rate <PHCBIR=ECI> steady at
3.0 percent at Thursday's policy meeting, the last under
Governor Amando Tetangco, who is due to step down next month.
    Annual inflation eased to a four-month low in May, but the
average rate of 3.1 percent in the first five months of the year
was above the midpoint of the central bank's 2-4 percent target
range for 2017. [nP9N1HP002]
    Some economists have pencilled in interest rate increases of
up to 50 basis points in the second half to head off risks of
higher inflation from strong domestic demand, credit and
investment growth.
    Incoming central bank governor Nestor Espenilla told Reuters
in an interview last week the direction of the central bank's
monetary policy would depend on consumer price expectations.
   Based on the central bank's projections, Espenilla said,
inflation is expected to stay within the 2-4 percent targets for
both this year and 2018. [nL3N1JB445]
    The central bank has kept policy settings unchanged since a
25 basis point hike in interest rates in September 2014.

 (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
 ((karen.lema@thomsonreuters.com; +632 841-8938; Reuters
Messaging:  karen.lema.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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