MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Inflation or the rate of increase in the prices of goods inched up to 2.9% in January, the Philippine Statistics Authority announced on Wednesday, February 5.
The latest figure is slightly higher than the 2.5% registered in December, but still within the government's target range of 2% to 4%.
It is the highest inflation recorded since June 2019, when the rate was at 2.7%.
National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the main source of the upward trend in January was transportation expenses, particularly petroleum and fuels.
Higher taxes imposed on alcoholic beverages and tobacco also pushed up the overall inflation. Cigarette prices soared by 25.3%, while beer rose by 4%.
Food prices also increased during the month, with fish rising by 8.8% and vegetables by 8.3%.
Inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) slowed down to 2.7% from 2.8%, as rice, corn, and sugar prices eased.
Areas outside NCR posted an overall inflation rate of 3%. Bicol posted the highest rate of 3.9%, while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao posted the lowest at 1%.
Inflation for January was also within the projected range of economists of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). They said that higher prices of liquefied petroleum gas and selected food items, as well as adjustments in excise taxes on tobacco products were the primary sources of upward price pressures for January.
With inflation inching up, the BSP is expected to go slow in cutting further interest rates. BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno was previously quoted as saying that he sees rates being reduced by 50 basis points in 2020. – Rappler.com