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MANILA: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its economic growth forecast for the Philippines this year to 5.3% from its 6.2% projection in July, owing to the impacts of stubbornly high inflation.

Next year the Philippine economy is projected to expand 6.0%, faster than its previous estimate of 5.5%, IMF said in a statement.

It also warned core inflation remained elevated.

“Thus, a higher-for-longer policy rate path is warranted until inflation firmly falls within the target range alongside a tightening bias to anchor inflation expectations,” the IMF said.

The Philippine economy grew at its slowest pace in nearly 12 years in the second quarter as high inflation and a series of interest rates hikes hurt consumer demand.

Headline inflation in August quickened for the first time in seven months to 5.3% due largely to an uptick in food and transport costs, keeping pressure on the central bank to maintain its hawkish policy stance.

The Philippine central bank kept its key interest rate steady at 6.25% at its Sept. 21 meeting, but signaled its readiness to tighten monetary policy at its November meeting if inflation pressures persist.

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