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Inflation uptrend continues, PSA says

Deputy National Statistician Rosalinda P. Bautista (center) and other officials of the Philippine Statistics Authority give an update on the country's inflation rate on January 7, 2020. (Photo grabbed from PSA Facebook)

Higher annual increases in the prices of food and transport pushed the December 2019 inflation to 2.5%, further bucking the downtrend for most of the year.

The December 2019 inflation was higher than the 1.3% in November 2019. It brought the annual average headline inflation of the country for the year 2019 to 2.5% from 5.2% in 2018.

Deputy National Statistician Rosalinda P. Bautista, in a press conference on January 7, 2020, said the higher inflation rate in December was mainly brought about by the 1.7% annual increment recorded in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index compared to zero in November 2019.

Transport inflation also went up to 2.2% in December compared to the 2.4% decline in November.

Higher annual increases were also noticed in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 18.4 percent; housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels, 1.9 percent; and furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, 3.1 percent.

Only the health index registered a lower increase of 2.9% while the rest of the commodity groups retained their previous month’s rates.

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the December 2019 inflation was within its forecast range of 1.8% to 2.6%.

"The latest inflation outturn is consistent with the BSP's prevailing assessment that inflation is expected to approach the midpoint of the target range in 2020 and 2021," the central bank said.

The central bank also reiterated that the volatility in global oil prices and the potential impact of the African Swine Fever outbreak will pose upside risks to inflation in 2020.

On the other hand, the impact of global trade and policy uncertainty as well as geopolitical tensions will be the main downside risks to inflation.

For the entire year, the following commodity groups registered a slowdown compared

To their annual rates in 2018:

• Food and non-alcoholic beverages, 2.1%;

• Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 12.8%;

• Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels, 2.4%;

• Transport, 1.0%; and

• Restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services, 3.4%.

The following commodity groups registered higher inflation:

• Clothing and footwear, 2.6%;

• Furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, 3.2%;

• Health, 3.5%; and

• Recreation and culture, 2.5%.

Excluding selected food and energy items, core inflation escalated by 3.1% in December 2019 from 2.6% in November. (Ventures Cebu)

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