Inflation slows to 3.3% in November amid lower food prices

STABILIZING. The government says it is starting to see year-on-year price declines for ampalaya, cabbage, carrot, tomato, white potato, and imported garlic in Metro Manila, which could mean that prices are stabilizing. File photo by Jay Directo/AFP

STABILIZING. The government says it is starting to see year-on-year price declines for ampalaya, cabbage, carrot, tomato, white potato, and imported garlic in Metro Manila, which could mean that prices are stabilizing.

File photo by Jay Directo/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Lower food prices led to a slowdown in inflation last November, in a reversal of the upward trend seen since July, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), an attached agency of NEDA, reported on Tuesday, December 5, that headline inflation hit 3.3% in November.

That figure is lower than the 3.5% recorded in October, but higher than the 2.5% seen in November a year ago.

Inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages slowed to 3.2% in November compared to October's 3.6%. NEDA said this was the lowest rate recorded since October 2016.

The decline was attributed to lower prices of vegetables, sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery, fruits, oils and fats, and rice.

Non-food inflation, meanwhile, slightly increased to 3.3% in November compared to October's 3.2%.

"Inflation during the last 11 months suggests that the full-year average might settle slightly above midpoint, but will still be well within our target of 2% to 4%. This already considers expected price spikes owing to holiday season spending this December," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a statement.

But Pernia warned that the government's economic managers still see risks remaining, both domestically and externally.

On the domestic front, he explained, higher electricity rates as well as increasing coal and domestic fuel prices will continue to exert pressures on headline inflation in the near term.

Higher international crude oil prices are also expected following oil production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) until end-2018. – Rappler.com