Inflation down to 4.4% in September
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – From 4.9% in August, inflation for September eased to 4.4%, attributed to slower increase in food prices, electricity charges, and the petroleum price roll back, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Wednesday, October 8.
Food inflation slid to 7.4% in September from 8.3% in August, with prices for rice going down to 10.7% from 13.2%; corn from 9.1% to 8.3%; and vegetables from 15% to 9.8%.
Other food groups recorded higher annual rates, excluding meat and oils and fats indices which retained their August level of 5.9% and 7.5%, respectively, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.
Improved monthly growth was also registered in the indices of non-alcoholic beverages, clothing, and footwear at 0.2%. Uptrends though were seen in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; recreation and culture; restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services at 0.2%; and health at 0.3%, the PSA reported.
The international price of Dubai’s crude oil also declined while the generation charge of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) increased only by 0.4% in September.
“This was much lower when compared to the almost 12% annual increase reported in the previous month. Generation and transmission charges declined, with the improved availability of generation plants in operation and with less forced outages,” NEDA OIC deputy director-general Emmanuel Esguerra said.
Still within target
Year-to-date, inflation stood at 4.4%, still within the Development Budget Coordination Committee's inflation target of 3% to 5% for 2014.
Excluding selected food and energy items, core inflation remained at the September rate of 3.4% versus the registered 2.3% in September.
The National Capital Region’s inflation rate also slid to 3.5% in September from 4.4% in August.
The highest month-on-month inflation at 0.7% was in the Ilocos region while the lowest rate of -0.6% was in SOCCSKSARGEN, PSA said.
Also for September, 13 of the 16 regions in the country hit slower year-on-year price increases, thus resulting in a lower overall inflation of 4.7% for these regions, from 5% in August.
The PSA added that price gains in consumer items were generally faster in the Visayas compared to areas in Luzon and Mindanao.
Overall, NEDA remains optimistic that the Philippines’ inflation rate for 2014 will still be within the DBCC's full-year target of 3% to 5%.
“Notwithstanding upward pressures on prices, the general market inflation expectations remain well-anchored, as policies remain supportive of manageable inflation rate,” Esguerra said. – Rappler.com
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