MANILA, May 26 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ central bank will be led by a new governor, Felipe Medalla, starting July 1 as current chief Benjamin Diokno takes on a new role as finance minister in Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s incoming administration.
Below are five things to know about the next Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor:
WHO IS FELIPE MEDALLA?
Medalla, 72, is an economist and educator who earned his Ph.D. in economics from Northwestern University in the United States.
Outside of government work, he has engaged in public advocacy for fiscal reforms and market-friendly government policies and has also served on the boards of several public Philippine companies.
WHAT ARE HIS CREDENTIALS?
Medalla has served under four Philippine presidents, starting with Fidel Ramos in the 1990s up to the current administration. He was the country’s economic planning minister from 1998 to 2001.
He has been a member of the central bank’s policymaking board since 2011.
WHAT CHALLENGES WILL MEDALLA FACE?
Like central bankers globally, he will have to strike a balance between taming inflation and avoiding overly aggressive rate hikes that could derail the recovery of the Philippines, among Asia’s fastest growing economies before the pandemic.
The BSP this month started unwinding its pandemic-driven accommodative monetary policy to battle inflationary pressures, with a hike of 25 basis points. During the pandemic, rates were cut 200 basis points.
WHAT DOES HIS TEAM LOOK LIKE?
Diokno, as finance minister, will continue to be a part of the central bank’s policymaking board and can still influence monetary policy. Other members of the panel are experienced bankers and technocrats.
HOW DOES THE MARKET VIEW MEDALLA?
Medalla is seen in the business community as a respectable and able hand.
His experience as an economic planner bodes well for the central bank, said Michael Ricafort, economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila, as Medalla is seen to prioritise measures that provide greater support for economic growth and development.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)