IN CHARTS: Inflation spoils Filipino family’s noche buena
MANILA, Philippines – Celebrating Christmas this year will cost Filipinos more due to high prices of goods.
Inflation has eased in November at 6%, but remains quite high compared to the Philippines' regional peers. For instance, Thailand and Malaysia's inflation rates are just at 1.1% and 1.3%, respectively.
The November figure is also not enough to bring down the average to the government's target range of 2% to 4%.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages, which comprise the biggest chunk in computing for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the inflation figure has also slowed down, but still high at 8% in November. (EXPLAINER: How inflation affects you)
Will high prices prevent Filipinos from celebrating the holidays? Definitely not.
"Masakit sa bulsa, pero ito lang naman ang time para magpasalamat sa Diyos sa biyaya at makasama ang pamilya (It's financially painful but this is the only time to thank God for the blessings and be with family)," said market vendor Delilah Mendoza.
Consumer spending in December is usually strong due to the release of employees' 13th-month pay and the increased cash remittances of overseas Filipino workers. (READ: Wise ways to use your 13th month pay)
Rappler compared the Suggested Retail Prices (SRPs) of noche buena items of 2017 and 2018 and found that most prices have increased.
The average prices of ham and queso de bola (Edam cheese) increased by 6.25% and 8.6%, respectively.
Making the traditional Filipino sweet spaghetti will also cost more this year, with the price of pasta rising from P72.10 in 2017 to P89.50 in 2018.
The good news is that cheese and tomato sauce prices have gone down.
While there is cheap rice from the National Food Authority and the harvest season flushes the market with more supply, rice prices remained high compared to last year.
Regular milled rice cost P42.50 per kilo as of the fourth week of November this year, compared to P38.01 in the same period in 2017.
For those who want to party with beer or wine, prices of alcoholic beverages have also soared due to the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law in 2018.