Southeast Asia far from inflation victory amid deceleration sign
In the worldwide quest to conquer the inflation peak, Southeast Asian central bankers appear to be better off than most, though still far from declaring victory.
Three of the region’s six-biggest economies have registered tentative deceleration in their latest consumer-price growth data. Singapore’s all-items CPI surged to 7.5% in August from a year earlier, the highest in more than 14 years, and Malaysia’s jumped by 4.7%, the fastest pace in more than five years, according to reports released on 23rd September.
该地区六大经济体中的三个在其最新的消费者价格增长数据中出现了初步减速。9月23日公布的报告显示，新加坡 8 月份所有项目的 CPI 同比飙升至 7.5%，为 14 年多以来的最高水平，马来西亚上涨 4.7%，为 5 年多以来的最快速度。
Indonesia and the Philippines are staring down a further bubbling in prices, taking little solace in the most recent data. Subsidies are being eased in Indonesia, while the Philippines is facing persistent food shortages.
“The peak in headline inflation is just a first step in the right direction,” said Tamara Henderson, chief Asean economist at Bloomberg Economics. “The more critical issues for central bank rate decisions are core inflation, and how long headline inflation remains above target. Headline inflation may have peaked but if it remains well above target, that will probably loosen inflation expectations and lift wage demands.”
彭博经济研究院首席东盟经济学家Tamara Henderson表示：“总体通胀达到顶峰只是朝着正确方向迈出的第一步。” “对于央行利率决定而言，更关键的问题是核心通胀，以及总体通胀保持高于目标的时间。总体通胀可能已经见顶，但如果仍远高于目标，那可能会放松通胀预期并提高工资需求。”
Contained inflation expectations — especially compared to US data that remains red-hot and about four times above the Federal Reserve’s goal — had kept some Southeast Asian central bankers more sanguine about raising interest rates. Indonesia and Thailand only started hiking last month, while Vietnam’s central bankers finally joined the rate-hike camp this week, in a surprise 100-basis-point move.
受抑制的通胀预期——尤其是与仍然炙手可热且比美联储目标高出约四倍的美国数据相比——让一些东南亚央行行长对加息更加乐观。印度尼西亚和泰国上个月才开始加息，而越南央行行长本周终于加入了加息阵营，出人意料地加息了 100 个基点。
On 22nd September, Bank Indonesia delivered a bigger-than-expected hike of 50 basis points. Central bankers in the Philippines also increased their benchmark rate by a half-point, matching the Bloomberg survey median. Both cited inflation that’s likely to stay above their 2%-4% target bands going into 2023.
9月22日，印尼央行宣布加息 50 个基点，幅度高于预期。菲律宾央行行长也将基准利率提高了半个百分点，与彭博调查的中值相符。两人都提到到 2023 年通胀率可能会保持在 2%-4% 的目标区间之上。
Thailand is expected to announce its rate decision on 28th September.
预计泰国将于 9 月 28 日宣布利率决定。
More risks to watch for Southeast Asian central banks, as Henderson notes:
- Indonesia’s recent increase of domestic fuel prices by more than 30% due to fiscal constraints means inflation is set to rise much further above the target in the months ahead;
- 由于财政限制，印度尼西亚最近将国内燃料价格上涨了 30% 以上，这意味着未来几个月的通胀将远高于目标；
- There’s a “strong chance” that Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam will also need to peel back subsidies — which would delay the peak in inflation;
- Singapore and Thailand — where prices are more flexible — will likely peak sooner, within the next few months, if commodity prices slide further. But unless domestic prices actually fall, or wages rise to compensate, then households won’t have more spending power.