After slowing down for five months, the country’s headline inflation accelerated in November 2019 due to higher prices of some food items and slower deflation in rice.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported the headline inflation for November at 1.3%, 0.5 percentage point higher than the 0.8% in October.
The resulting year-to-date average inflation rate of 2.5% remained well within the government’s target band of 2% to 4% for the year.
Core inflation, which excludes selected volatile food and energy items to measure underlying price pressures, was steady at 2.6 percent in November from the previous month’s level.
“This is mainly driven by an uptick in fish prices and a slower deflation in rice and electricity, gas and other fuels, and can be partly attributed to waning base effects from last year,” said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary for Regional Development and officer-in-charge (OIC) Adoracion M. Navarro.
She stressed the need to ensure enough food supply and manage upside risks posed by the impact of Typhoon Tisoy (international name Kammuri) and the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.
NEDA Director General Ernesto M. Pernia earlier warned of the upside risk posed by ASF, which has prompted over 60 local government units to ban the entry of pork and pork-based products from Luzon.
The PSA, in its report, traced the uptick in the November 2019 headline inflation to higher annual increases in the consumer price indices of the following commodity groups:
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 17.6%;
Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels, 1.2%;
Furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, 2.8%;
Health, 3.1%; and
The heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages registered an annual growth of 0% in November 2019, from 0.9% annual drop in October 2019. The food index registered a decline of 0.2%, but this was faster than the -1.3% in October.
In a separate statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the inflation rates for meat, fish, vegetables, as well as milk, cheese, and eggs increased in November compared to year-ago levels.
At the same time, year-on-year inflation rates for rice, corn, as well as sugar, jam, honey, chocolate, and other confectionery were also less negative during the month. (Ventures Cebu)