The Philippine central bank kept its key policy rate steady for a fifth straight meeting on Thursday, saying policy settings needed to remain tight to ensure inflation can be held within its 2.0% to 4.0% target.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said its policy-making monetary board voted to keep its reverse repurchase rate unchanged at 6.50%, as it did at its last four meetings.

The decision was correctly predicted by all 23 economists in a Reuters poll.

Thursday's policy meeting followed a slew of data showing inflation has suppressed consumer spending, restraining economic growth in the first quarter.

Annual inflation rose for the third straight month in April, to 3.8% from 3.7% in March. While it stayed within the central bank's 2-4% target range, the BSP and economists think inflation risks remain tilted toward the upside. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Mikhail Flores; Editing by John Mair)