October inflation hits 3-month high

Credit to Author: Anna Leah E. Gonzales| Date: Thu, 05 Nov 2020 16:35:35 +0000

A man arranges the vegetables he sells at a stall inside the Kamuning Public Market in Quezon City on Nov. 5, 2020, when the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the country’s headline inflation picked up to 2.5 percent in October. PHOTO BY JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE

Higher prices of food, particularly meat and fish, and non-alcoholic drinks pushed the country’s headline inflation to 2.5 percent in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday.

The figure is higher than the 2.3 percent in September and 0.8 percent a year earlier. It also matched June’s 2.5 percent and is greater than the 2.4-percent average estimate of economists polled by The Manila Times earlier this week.

It also falls within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ inflation target of 2 to 4 percent this year.

In a briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa attributed the acceleration to higher food prices, noting that food inflation picked up to 2.1 percent last month — from 1.5 percent in September — after easing for five straight months.

He said the higher consumer price growth in food was on account of the jump in meat inflation to 4.7 percent from 2.9 percent month-on-month.

“Based on our data, in the NCR (National Capital Region), the average price of pork (meat with bones) is P260 per kilo, compared to last [year’s] P202/kilo, so year-on-year, inflation is around 29 percent, so the increase is big,” Mapa explained.

“For areas outside the capital, the average price of pork rose to P208/kilo from P186/kilo last year, so that’s around 12 percent inflation year-on-year,” he added.

Accordingt to him, an upward trend in meat prices is seen, especially in Luzon.

“I understand [that] the price of meat, particularly pork, spiked due to the ASF (African swine fever) and…if the volume is low, we can expect an increase in prices,” the PSA chief said.

Also noted were higher increments in the indices of fish at 3.7 percent; oils and fats, 2.5 percent; education, 1.2 percent; and restaurant and miscellanous goods and services, 2.4 percent.

Slowdowns were posted in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 11.3 percent; clothing and footwear, 1.7 percent; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, 0.9 percent; health, 2.7 percent; and transport, 7.9 percent.

Inflation in Metro Manila accelerated to 2.5 percent last month from 2.2 percent in September and 1.3 percent in October last year, while that in areas outside NCR also picked up to 2.5 percent from 2.4 percent a month earlier and 0.7 percent a year ago.

Inflation for poor households reached 2.9 percent, up from September 2.8 percent and -0.1 percent year-on-year, which the PSA attributed to higher prices of meat and fish, clothing and footwear, and education.