MANILA, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady at 6.25% for a fourth straight meeting on Thursday to balance the need to support economic growth while trying to curb inflation.
"The Monetary Board deemed it appropriate to maintain its pause and read the emerging upside risks to the inflation outlook," Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Eli Remolona told a press conference.
The BSP's decision to maintain benchmark rates, now called target reverse repurchase (RRP), comes after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept rates steady on Wednesday while sketching a stricter policy path moving forward.
All but two of the 25 economists in a Sept. 12-18 poll by Reuters had expected the central bank to leave its overnight borrowing rate unchanged. Two predicted a rate hike of 25 basis points.
In its latest consumer price forecasts, the BSP sees inflation averaging 5.8% and 3.5% this year and the next, respectively, higher than its earlier projections of 5.6% and 3.3%.
Philippine inflation unexpectedly accelerated to 5.3% in August, bringing the January-August average to 6.6%, well outside the central bank's 2% to 4% target.
Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Mikhail Flores; Editing by Martin Petty