PH inflation quickens anew to 3.8% in April

Inflation
InflationFile Photo

THE country’s headline inflation for April has slightly gone up to 3.8 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Tuesday, May 7, 2024, as El Niño and global disruptions continue to exert upward pressure on food prices.

April’s inflation is a point percent higher than the 3.7 percent recorded in March but far lower than the April 2023 inflation print at 6.6 percent.

According to the PSA, this is the fastest inflation over the past four months following the 3.9 percent inflation in December 2023. The country’s inflation rate stood at 2.8 percent in January and 3.4 percent in February.

Average inflation in the first four months of the year now stands at 3.4 percent, still within the government’s target range of two to four percent.

The PSA said the uptrend in the overall inflation in April was primarily influenced by the higher year-on-year increase in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at six percent, the faster annual growth rate of the transport index at 2.6 percent, and the higher inflation rate in information and communication at 0.5 percent.

Heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages poured in 2.3 percentage points in the headline inflation, while transportation contributed .2 percentage points and information communication .5 percentage points.

Food, rice inflation

The PSA said the food inflation at the national level, which shared 2.2 percentage points in the headline inflation, went up to 6.3 percent from the previous month’s 5.7 percent. Key contributors include vegetables (up by 4.3 percent), fish (0.4 percent), and ready-made products (4.8 percent).

Meanwhile, rice—a staple in Filipino households—recorded a lower inflation rate of 23.9 percent in April, from 24.4 percent in March. Despite this decline, rice remains the primary driver of inflation, accounting for 2.1 percentage points.

In a press conference, PSA head Undersecretary Dennis Mapa attributed the decrease in rice inflation to the movement in world prices.

“Ang nakita namin, bumaba nang konti ang world price ng rice. Nag-peak siya noong January 2024, and then may pagbaba nu’ng February and March, konti lang,” he said.

(What we saw was that the world price of rice dropped a little. It peaked in January 2024, and then there was a decrease in February and March, just a little.)

“But the trajectory is that two months na siya du’n sa world prices bumaba, so this might have impact sa pagbaba ng presyo ng bigas ng konti,” he added.

(But the trajectory is that it’s been two months since world prices dropped, so this might have had an impact on the price of rice going down a little bit.)

Inflation outlook

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the April inflation is within its target range of 3.5 to 4.3 percent.

The central bank said risks to the inflation outlook continue to lean toward the upside linked mainly to higher transport charges, elevated food prices, higher electricity rates and global oil prices. It added that potential minimum wage adjustments could also give rise to second-round effects.

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority said while the uptick in inflation remains within the government’s target range, it underscores the need for vigilance.

“We are taking comprehensive measures to ensure food security amid geopolitical concerns and weather patterns worsened by climate change. The government’s major strategies aim to increase productivity, build the resilience of the agriculture sector, and improve the efficiency of food systems,” said Neda Chief Arsenio Balisacan. / TPM, KOC

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