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Expect prices to remain elevated, central bank says

(Ventures Cebu File)

The country’s headline inflation rate for September 2021 remained elevated at 4.8 percent, just a bit lower than the 4.9 percent in the previous month but more than double the 2.3 percent a year ago, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

Inflation is likely to remain elevated for the rest of the year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Benjamin Diokno said.

He said this will be driven largely by supply side factors related to weather disruptions, global oil prospects and continued impact of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

“These supply side shocks are best addressed by timely non-monetary policy interventions that could ease domestic supply constraints. The return of inflation to the target range is highly contingent on the successful implementation of these supply measures,” he said.

Inflation is projected to decelerate to within the BSP’s target range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent only by the end of the year.

“The risks to the inflation outlook remain tilted towards the upside for the remaining months of 2021, but remain broadly balanced for 2022 and 2023,” he said.

Upside risks may come from pressures on world commodity prices, effects of weather disturbances, and prolonged recovery from the ASF outbreak.

Downside risks, on the other hand, are seen from the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants and weaker-than-expected global growth prospects.

Diokno said the September inflation was within the BSP’s forecast range of 4.8 to 5.6 percent.

He attributed the very slight decline to the lower annual rate of increase in the transport index.

In its report, the PSA said the 4.8 percent inflation in September was lower than the 4.9 percent in August and more than double the 2.3 percent in September 2020.

It brought the average inflation from January to September 2021 at 4.5 percent. (Ventures Cebu)

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