Central banks in Indonesia and the Philippines held their key interest rates steady to help entrench economic recoveries that are picking up pace as Southeast Asia’s worst Covid outbreaks recede.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas left the benchmark rate at 2% on Thursday, as predicted by all 20 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Minutes later, Bank Indonesia held its key rate at 3.5%, as all 27 economists surveyed expected.
Monetary authorities in both countries will be watching closely for any emerging-market fallout from the Federal Reserve’s decision Wednesday to speed up its exit from pandemic-era policies that supported the US economy. Indonesia has a sizable interest-rate premium over US Treasuries, while elevated inflation has put the Philippines’ policy rate in negative real territory.
“The Monetary Board sees enough scope to keep a patient hand on the BSP’s policy levers owing to a manageable inflation environment,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said in Manila. “Preserving ongoing monetary policy support at this juncture shall help sustain the economy’s momentum over the next few quarters.”
The peso climbed as much as 0.6% after the decision, its biggest jump in more than a month. The Philippine currency has been the best performer in Asia in December.
In Indonesia, Governor Perry Warjiyo said next year’s monetary policy will be “pro-stability.” That’s a change from the “pro-growth” stance the bank has pursued for most of 2021, but reiterates a message he has delivered recently.
The yield on Indonesia’s 10-year bonds rose two basis points after the decision to 6.42%, while the rupiah stayed 0.2% weaker at 14,365 a dollar and the benchmark stock index slipped 0.5% as of 2.40pm in Jakarta.