(UPDATE) Dec inflation slows, BSP open to more rate cuts

Despite the seasonal price spike during the holidays, annual inflation in the Philippines eased to its lowest in nine months in December, largely due to falling oil costs, the government said Tuesday.

Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed inflation came in at a lower-than-expected 8.0 percent in December, its fourth straight month of decline.

The latest figure was below market estimates of 8.8 percent in a Reuters poll last week and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) forecast of 8.6-9.5 percent.

In November, annual inflation was at 9.9 percent.

Core inflation, which strips out some volatile food and energy items, fell to 7.3 percent in December from 7.9 percent in November, indicating that “inflationary pressures are easing.”

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