PH January inflation rate slower at 2.8 percent

PH January inflation rate slower at 2.8 percent
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THE country’s inflation rate has further slowed down as it clocked in at 2.8 percent in January 2024.

The PSA said the January 2024 inflation rate, or the rate of increase in the cost of commodities in a certain period of time, is the lowest since the 2.3 percent inflation rate recorded in October 2020.

It is .9 percent lower than December 2023 inflation rate of 3.9 percent and far lower than the 8.7 percent in January 2023.

“The downtrend in the overall inflation in January 2024 was primarily brought about by the slower annual increment of food and non-alcoholic beverages at 3.5 percent in January 2024 from 5.4 percent in the previous month,” the PSA said.

“Also contributing to the downtrend was housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels with a slower annual increase of 0.7 percent during the month from 1.5 percent in December 2023,” it added.

The agency also noted lower annual increments on alcoholic beverages and tobacco, from 9.0 to 8.4 percent; clothing and footwear, from 4.2 to 3.8 percent; furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance, from 4.5 to 3.9 percent; health, from 3.7 to 3.3 percent; recreation, sport and culture, from 4.2 to 4.0 percent; restaurants and accommodation services, from 5.6 to 5.5 percent; and personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services, from 4.6 to 4.0 percent.

It said the index of education services recorded a higher annual increase of 3.8 percent from an annual increment of 3.5 percent in December 2023.

The PSA said the food and non-alcoholic beverages, restaurants and accommodation services and alcoholic beverages and tobacco contributed the most in the overall inflation of the month with 1.3, 0.5 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively.

The food inflation also slowed down to 3.3 percent from 5.5 percent during the month prior.

The agency said the deceleration is attributed to decrease in the prices of corn -4.3 percent from -3.5 percent; oils and fats, -4.3 percent from -3.6 percent; meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals, -0.7 percent from 0.2 percent; and sugar, confectionery and desserts, -1.0 percent from 0.1 percent.

Lower inflation rates were also noted in the flour, bread and other bakery products, pasta products, and other cereals; milk, other dairy products and eggs; fruits and nuts, 10.0 percent from 12.2 percent; and ready-made food and other food products not elsewhere classified.

But the PSA noted an increase in the rice inflation from 19.6 percent in December 2023 to 22.6 percent in January, and this could be due to the overall trend of high rice prices in the world market, as well as the base effects seen in the first seven months of 2023, when rice inflation was relatively low, according to PSA director Dennis Mapa.

Mapa said the inflation rate of rice may persist to above 20 percent until July 2024.

In a statement, National Economic Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said they would continue monitoring food supply and prices in the country in anticipation of the El Niño phenomenon spreading across more areas in order to provide President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Cabinet with timely and appropriate policy recommendations and ensure stable and affordable prices of commodities.

“We introduce stop-gap measures, as necessary, such as allowing further imports on key commodities until our supply stabilizes at prices affordable to consumers while ensuring remunerative prices for local producers,” he said, noting that El Niño will linger until May of 2024.

Earlier, Marcos extended until the end of 2024 the reduced tariff rates of pork, corn, and rice under Executive Order 50.

The chief executive also reactivated the Task Force El Niño through Executive Order 53, which tasks concerned agencies to intensify the government’s efforts to secure sufficient water and food supply, power, health, and public safety nationwide. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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