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June 29, 2017

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Philippines hikes interest rates, first time since 2011

MANILA -- Philippine monetary authorities raised key interest rates on Thursday for the first time in more than three years in a "pre-emptive" move to keep inflation under control.

The central bank said it raised its overnight borrowing and lending rates by 25 basis points to 3.75 percent and 5.75 percent respectively, marking the first time it raised the rates since May 2011.

Since then, the bank's monetary board has either lowered key interest rates or kept them steady until its latest decision.

"The monetary board's decision is a pre-emptive response to signs of inflation pressures and elevated inflation expectations," a central bank statement said.

It cited "higher food prices, short-term volatility in international oil prices," and expectations that power and transport rates would go up.

The rise in rates is also "a pre-emptive measure in the context of the eventual normalization of monetary policy in some advanced economies," the bank said.

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