MANILA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Philippine annual inflation could fall below 2 percent for the first time in more than five years in January, the central bank said on Wednesday, giving it leeway to keep interest rates steady in the near term.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco said inflation in January will likely be between 1.8-2.7 percent, reflecting easing price pressures.
The bottom end of the range would be the lowest since August 2009 when the rate hit 1.7 percent while the upper end would equal the rate in December.
"The BSP will watch economic and financial developments including the balance of global liquidity, its impact on global inflation and growth dynamics and how these would translate to investors' sentiment, financial market moves and domestic market inflation expectations," Tetangco said in a mobile text message to reporters.
The central bank meets for the first time this year on Feb. 12. Analysts in a Reuters poll in December expect the key policy rate to be kept on hold at 4.0 percent in the first half of 2015.
Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Simon cameron-Moore