Inflation eases slightly in February

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Slower price increases are seen in the alcohol and tobacco indices

Inflation eases a bit in February but remains at the 4% level. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Inflation eased slightly in February on slower increases in prices of alcohol and tobacco.

Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed inflation eased to 4.1% in February from 4.2% the previous month. It was however way faster than the 3.4% recorded last year.

The agency said slower movements were seen in prices of so-called sin products, alcohol and tobacco. These products registered price spikes last year when the sin tax reform law took effect. The law imposed higher taxes on the products.

NSO said “the rest of the commodity groups were either higher or remained their last month’s rate.”

For instance, inflation for the food index accelerated to 5.9% in February from 5.7% in January, noted NSO. Food prices have been rising in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

Inflation in February was within the central bank’s forecast of 3.8% to 4.6%.

It brought the average for the first 2 months of the year to 4.15%, within the government’s full-year target of 3% to 5%. –

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