Price increases in food and non-alcoholic beverages have continued to slow down, further softening the country’s headline inflation rate to 4.4% in January 2019.
This is the lowest inflation rate recorded in the last nine months and it boosted government expectations of keeping inflation manageable and bringing it back within the target range of 2% to 4% for this year.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), in a report released Tuesday, February 5, said the 4.4% headline inflation in January was lower than the 5.1% recorded in December 2018, although still higher than the 3.4% in January 2018.
The heavily-weighted food and beverage index registered an average inflation rate of 5.6% in January, lower than the 6.7% in December 2018.
Lower price increases were also noted in the other commodity groups: Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, 16.1%; Clothing and Footwear, 2.5%; Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels, 4%; Health, 4.3%; and Transport, 2.5%.
In a joint statement, the country’s economic managers said the slowdown in price increases was widely felt across the regions.
“We are confident that inflation will further ease in the near term and settle at 3.2% and 3% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, as seen by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” the economic team said. The team is composed of the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance and Department of Budget and Management.
Prices, especially of rice, are expected to decrease when Congress approves the rice tarriffication bill, the team added. (Ventures Cebu)