Inflation steady at 6.7% in October
THE annual increase in the prices of goods and services remained at a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in October 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on Tuesday, November 6.
The October headline inflation rate was unchanged from September’s 6.7 percent. It was, however, faster than the 3.5 percent in October 2017.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), in a statement, said the October outturn was consistent with its assessment that inflation had peaked in the third quarter, although it could remain elevated for the rest of the year.
“The start of the harvest season for rice and improved weather conditions have contributed to some downward price pressures on rice prices. In addition, the implementation of non-monetary measures is also expected to result in a deceleration in food prices,” BSP said.
“Moreover, the approval of rice tarrification could lead to an earlier return to within target inflation in 2019 and to approach the midpoint of the target range in 2020,” the central bank added.
The PSA said there were mixed movements in the inflation rates of the different commodity groups.
Six commodity groups posted higher inflation, namely housing, water, electricity gas, and other fuels (4.8 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (3.7 percent); health (4.3 percent); transport (8.8 percent); recreation and culture (3.1 percent); and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (4.2 percent).
Food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation barely changed to October’s 9.4 percent from September’s 9.7 percent. The alcoholic beverages and tobacco basket was also stable at 21 percent in October from 21.8 percent last month.
Price increases slowed in corn and meat, both at 7.5 percent; fruits, 4.3 percent; and vegetables, 15.8 percent.
Other food groups registered higher annual increments in October.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it could be considered “good news” that the headline inflation “did not go up.”
Panelo also believed that the latest inflation rate reflects the government’s efforts to temper the rising prices of goods.
“Considering the directives of the President, supplying us with food and other measures undertaken by the Department of Finance, as well as agriculture and trade. I think that contributes,” the Palace official said in a press conference.
“Apparently, the measures undertaken by the government has affected the inflation rate. So we will maintain it,” he added.
On September 21, Duterte signed an administrative order and three memoranda to tame the soaring prices of goods and basic commodities.
Administrative Order 13 aims to streamline procedures on the importation of agricultural products, while Memorandum Orders 26, 27, and 28 seek to stabilize prices of basic agricultural commodities at reasonable levels and maintain their sufficient supply in the domestic market.
Asked if the government expects inflation to slow down in the next few months, Panelo said: “Well, hopefully. It depends on the global conditions.”
The Bangko Sentral earlier forecast the October 2018 inflation to range from 6.2 percent to seven percent, while the Department of Finance projected it at 6.5 percent./sunstar Philippines
ANNUAL increase in the prices of goods and services remain at a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in October 2018.