Biz leader: ASF 'scare' contributes to higher inflation

THE "scare" created by African Swine Fever (ASF) has contributed to higher inflation in the country and region, a business group leader said.

Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said concerns of ASF affecting the country's swine industry has pushed the prices up for other meat products as well as fish.

"The increase in inflation is mainly brought about by the increase in food prices," Carbon said, adding that the higher demand of products as

Christmas draws near also contributed to the price increases.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier reported that the inflation rate in Western Visayas accelerated to 1.4 percent for November 2019, which is 0.3 percentage point higher than 1.1 percent in October.

It is also slightly higher than the national headline inflation of 1.3 percent and that of the average inflation for areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR) at 1.2 percent.

Western Visayas registered a higher inflation in food and non-alcoholic beverages, from -0.1 to -0.7 percent.

Higher inflation was also noted among other commodity groups like alcoholic beverages and tobacco -- 16.1 to 16.5 percent; clothing and footwear -- 2.8 to 2.9 percent; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels -- 1.5 to 1.7 percent; health -- 3.4 to 3.5 percent; and recreation and culture -- 2.1 to 2.2 percent.

Lower inflation rate was noted among furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house at 4.2 to 4.3 percent; transportation -- 1.0 to 1.4 percent; communication -- 0.7 to 0.4 percent; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services -- 1.6 to 1.5 percent.

A steady inflation rate of 1.3 percent, meanwhile, was noted in education.

The business group's claim on the impact of ASF "scare" to the prices of other meat products was previously validated by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO).

The PVO reported that a significant increase on the average prices of meat and poultry products, except pork, in Negros Occidental was noted from July to October this year.

It recorded an increase of P1.83 per kilogram of beef, and P3.22 and P1.66 per kilogram of chevon and dressed chicken, respectively.

The price of pork, on the other hand, has significantly decreased by P14.95 per kilogram. From P218.50 in July, it dropped to P203.74 per kilogram in October this year, or lower by 6.84 percent.

"ASF in Luzon has created a 'scare' to the consuming public despite the information and education campaign of the government that it is safe to eat pork," the PVO said, adding that "low demand on pork resulted in increase of available supply which eventually led to lower price of the commodity."

For the labor sector, on the other hand, the General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa) earlier said this was a "cost push" inflation.

Gawa secretary general Wennie Sancho said prices start to increase due to the law of supply and demand.

"More demand less supply result is price increase which is inflationary," he added.


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