* Feb CPI +4.5 pct y/y, highest since Nov 2008
* C.bank's inflation target for year is 3-4 pct
* Inflation seen due to fuel price adjustments - economist
(adds economist comment, details)
KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 Malaysia's consumer price index
rose to an eight-year high in February, but is unlikely to lead to
any change in monetary policy.
Annual inflation grew 4.5 percent in February, the highest since November
2008 when it hit 5.7 percent.
In January, the annual rate was 3.2 percent. A Reuters poll had forecast a
February level of 4.1 percent, just short of the 4.2 percent peak hit in
February last year.
Economists said a fuel price hike in February and a low base stemming from a
cut in transport costs from last year contributed to the month's high inflation
Rising inflation, however, was not seen as worrying Malaysia's central bank,
as it was mainly due to the adjustments in domestic fuel prices, said Brian Tan,
an economist with Nomura in Singapore.
"We don't foresee any changes to policy as it's clear they remain quite
cautious to any potential downside risk to growth, and they don't want to jump
the gun too early," Tan said.
Bank Negara said on Thursday it expected inflation to average between 3 to 4
percent for 2017.
Malaysia, an oil and natural gas exporter, has benefited from recovering
global oil prices this year.
The central bank expects headline inflation, which it says will be
"relatively high" in the first half of 2017 due to higher fuel prices, to dip in
the second half.
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Sunil Nair)