POSSIBLE SLOWDOWN. A rollback in oil prices and a decline in the prices of some food items are seen to help decelerate the inflation rate in March 2023 to between 7.4 percent and 8.2 percent. These factors are seen to counter the impact of upticks in Meralco rates and of some food items. (PNA file photo) 

MANILA – The easing of the prices of domestic petroleum and some food items is seen to contribute to the possible slowdown of the inflation rate in March to between 7.4 percent and 8.2 percent, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

In a statement on Friday, the BSP said the recent rollback of oil prices, along with the lower prices of fruits, vegetables, chicken, and sugar “are expected to contribute to easing price pressures during the month.”

Price pressures during the month are seen to come from higher power rates in areas being serviced by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), as well as upticks in the prices of pork, fish, eggs, and rice.

“Going forward, the BSP remains prepared to respond appropriately to continuing inflation risks in line with its data-dependent approach to monetary policy formulation,” it added.

The rate of price increases in the second month this year slowed to 8.6 percent from the 14-year high of 8.7 percent in the previous month.

Monetary authorities expect the domestic inflation rate to remain above the government’s 2 percent to 4 percent target in most of this year and to go back within target by the last quarter of 2023. (PNA)