Oct inflation at 7-month high of 2.9%

MANILA, Philippines – Annual inflation picked up in October due to higher food and beverage price hikes, the statistics agency reported Tuesday, November 5.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) said inflation rate or the pace of consumer price increases stood at 2.9% in October, the fastest rise in 7 months. ( READ: September inflation accelerates to 2.7%)

"The uptrend was due to higher annual increases in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverage index," it said in a report posted on its site.

But slower hikes were recorded for alcoholic beverages and tobacco, as well as utility and transportation costs, NSO reported.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) targets inflation to fall within the range of 3-5% this year and in 2014.

Inflation is one of the factors BSP looks at when setting its interest rates, which influence rates that local banks charge on their loans.

Benign inflation should allow interest rates to remain low, boosting demand for loans, and supporting household and business spending.

Socioeconomic Planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan earlier said robust domestic spending would keep the Philippines' economic growth above 7% in the third quarter. The government will release third-quarter gross domestic product data later this month. – Rappler.com