MANILA, Philippines – Prices of goods in the country increased at a steady pace in February, even after global oil and commodity prices jumped during the month.
The Philippine Statistics Authority on Friday, March 4, said inflation stayed at 3% in February, the same figure recorded in January. It is also slower than the 4.2% in the same month in 2021.
The latest figure is well within the target set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) of 2% to 4%.
Inflation in housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels was the major contributor to the February inflation at 4.8%.
Gasoline and diesel inflation shot up 32.1% and 46.4%, respectively.
National Statistician Dennis Mapa said that while oil and transport costs went up in February, vegetables and fruits posted negative inflation rates, which then pulled down the headline inflation.
Food inflation decreased to 1.1% in February from 1.6% in January.
Inflation rose to 1.9% from 1.3% in Metro Manila, while it slightly eased in areas outside the capital, from 3.5% to 3.4%.
Seven regions posted higher inflation rates, while nine saw slower figures.
7 regions post higher inflation rates in February (in blue), 9 post slower inflation (in green) pic.twitter.com/aYkpVh9VT8— Ralf Rivas (@RalfRivas) March 4, 2022
Despite the stable inflation rate, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said the government is closely monitoring increases in commodity prices amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The government earlier said it is preparing fuel vouchers to help drivers, farmers, and fisherfolk. Chua also said they are helping farmers improve productivity and importing goods.
“Prices of commodities, such as oil, wheat, and corn, are going up as demand outpaces supply. That is why we need to proactively manage the impact on the people through these two measures,” Chua said.
Analysts earlier said the continued rise in global oil prices, pushed further by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, created a domino effect on prices. The Philippines is a net oil importer.
Brent crude surpassed $110 a barrel for the first time since June 2014.
The BSP earlier raised its inflation forecast for 2022 to 3.7% from 3.4% due to the oil price spike.
In 2021, inflation went beyond the BSP’s target at 4.5%. – Rappler.com