By Chino Leyco
The rate of increase in consumer prices further eased to its lowest level in almost three-years in October owing to manageable costs of heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.
The country’s headline inflation settled at 0.8 percent last month, slower than the 0.9 percent in September, and 6.7 percent in the same month last year.
According to the PSA, October inflation was the slowest since May 2016, which posted 0.9 percent.
“The downtrend in the inflation in October 2019 was mainly due to the 0.9 percent annual drop registered in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index,” PSA said.
Similarly, the PSA data showed the annual rate of transport index declined further by 1.7 percent during the month.
Moreover, slower annual Inflation increments were noted in the following commodity groups: housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (0.6 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (2.7 percent); and health, and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services, both at (2.9 percent).
Inflation rates were higher in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 16.5 percent; and clothing and footwear at 2.8 percent.
In the first 10-months, inflation averaged at 2.6 percent, well within the Duterte administration’s target of 2.0 percent to 4.0 percent.
Meanwhile, Malacañang lauded the latest drop in the country’s inflation rate and vowed to continue to monitor the prices of basic commodities, especially with the approaching Christmas season.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has attributed the downtrend in inflation to President Duterte’s strong political will and the government’s sound economic policies.
“The Office of the President is pleased to announce that, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, inflation has further eased from 6.7 percent in October 2018 to 0.8 percent in October 2019, which is the lowest inflation recorded since May 2016, or during the latter part of the previous administration’s term,” Panelo said.
“This positive development is a testament that PRRD’s strong political will, together with his economic team’s sound and working macroeconomic policies and measures, contributed to the downward trend of prices and goods,” he added
He said the inflation drop should be considered as “good news to all Filipinos, especially to President Duterte’s doubters or cynics unless they see it otherwise, which would then reveal that what they are solely interested in is for this Administration to fail.”
Panelo also assured the public that the consumer prices will be closely monitored in anticipation of the holiday season.
“As inflation continues to drop, the current government will continue to not let its guard down in monitoring the prices of basic commodities, especially now that we are in the “ber” months, approaching Christmas season,” he said.
He said bringing a comfortable life for all Filipinos, which includes taming inflation, remains the foremost socioeconomic goal of the administration.
The country’s headline inflation slowed down to 0.8 percent last month, compared to the 0.9 percent last September, and 6.7 percent in the same month in 2018.