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Philippine central bank raises CPI forecasts, doesn't change policy rate

MANILA -- The Philippine central bank kept its key policy rate steady on Thursday, citing potential upside risks to inflation and flagging weak global economic conditions that analysts said signaled the door for further easing remains open.

The benchmark interest rate was left unchanged at a record low of 3.75 percent, in line with expectations it will hold fire before it cuts rates at least one more time by the end of the year.

Ten of 12 economists polled by Reuters last week had expected no change in rates, but one of the two dissenters later joined the majority after data on Tuesday showed exports performed better-than-expected in July.

The central bank said it raised its average inflation forecast to 3.4 percent from 3.1 percent for 2012 and to 4.1 percent from 3.2 percent for 2013 following recent increases in oil and non-oil commodity prices globally.

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