INFLATION in Central Visayas slowed down to six percent in November from 6.6 percent in October, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Data released by state-run PSA on Wednesday, Dec. 5, showed that the inflation rate of food and non-alcoholic beverages in the region dropped to 8.1 percent from nine percent in October. Inflation rate of alcoholic beverages and tobacco, likewise, declined from 21.2 percent in October to 20.7 percent last month.
The increase in the prices of all items slowed down except for corn; sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery; and milk, cheese and egg.
Rice inflation decelerated from 7.6 percent to 5.9 percent. Corn inflation, on the other hand, slight rose from nine percent to 10.9 percent.
Inflation rate of meat slightly declined from 9.5 percent to 8.8 percent and fish from 13.3 percent to 11.6 percent.
The rate of price rise in fruits, vegetables and transport also decelerated last month.
Meanwhile, a slight hike in inflation rate was recorded for sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery from 12.6 percent in October to 14.4 percent in November.
Inflation rate of milk, cheese and egg also slightly picked up to 3.5 percent from 3.2 percent in October.
The country’s inflation rate slowed down to six percent in November from the plateau of 6.7 percent in October.
Last month’s inflation was the lowest rate since the 5.7 percent rate in July. Month-on-month inflation declined by 0.3 percent.
In a joint statement, the economic managers were pleased with the inflation figure.
“It is comforting for us that the slowdown will alleviate the struggles of poor Filipinos, especially now that the holiday season is just around the corner. This makes us even more determined in curbing inflation and enforcing all measures to guarantee food security,” the joint statement said.
Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages continue to be the main drivers of inflation in the country. Last month, it decelerated to eight percent from 9.4 percent in October 2018. This was, however, significantly higher than the three percent in November 2017.
Food inflation in the country slowed to 7.7 percent in November from the previous month’s 9.2 percent. The team said this was caused by the improvement in the supply of key agricultural commodities such as rice, fish and seafood, meat, vegetables, corn, and fruits.
The country’s average inflation rate in the last 11 months stood at 5.21 percent. The economic managers said this is 1.2 percentage points above the high end of the government’s inflation target range of two percent to four percent, but slightly below the 5.3 percent emerging forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for 2018.
“This is a positive development in the government’s commitment to manage inflation,” the economic team said. However, it noted that mitigating measures under various government issuances, including those prescribed in Administrative Order 13, issued by the President should be continuously implemented and strictly monitored.
“Most importantly, we must ensure the timely arrival of rice imports to compensate for the lost palay harvest in the third quarter of the year,” it said.
“We are optimistic that inflation will stabilize further in the near term. But, we will keep a vigilant eye on upward pressures such as volatility in the global oil market,” the team added.
Lower inflation rates ahead
Earlier, the BSP said it is seeing lower annual inflation rates for the rest of 2018 through the next two years of 2019 and 2020.
BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the 2018 inflation rate is not expected to be persistent and recurrent in the next two years as the country’s inflationary environment has already showed significant deceleration.
During the Sulong Pilipinas 2018-Philippine Development Forum: Hakbang Tungo sa Kaunlaran held at the Cebu City Sports Club, Guinigundo highlighted that inflation for the past 10 months has been supply-driven with increase in oil prices in the global market as one of the major contributors.
“We are not expecting the inflation rate this year to replicate in 2019 and 2020,” said Guinigundo.
Recent developments both in external and internal fronts have showed signs of improvement. He explained they are seeing the impact of prices of fuel in the world market going down, impact of the Train Law tapering off, stable rice supply in the market and government implementing mitigating measures to temper inflation.
The BSP expects to end the year with a 5.2 percent inflation rate and 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively, for 2019 and 2020. (KOC)