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Inflation slows further in November

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
Inflation slows further in November
Vendors display their selection of vegetables available at the Baguio City Market on September 14, 2023.
STAR / Andy Zapata Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ inflation rate eased further in November to its lowest level in 20 months, due to slower increases in food prices, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

At a briefing yesterday, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the headline inflation rate, or the rate of increase in the average prices of goods and services typically purchased by consumers, was at 4.1 percent in November, down from 4.9 percent in October this year and eight percent in November last year.

This is the second straight month that the country’s inflation rate slowed down. Mapa said this is also the lowest inflation rate since March 2022, when the inflation print was at four percent.

The latest inflation print is within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast of four to 4.8 percent for the month of November. This brought average inflation in the January to November period to 6.2 percent.

Mapa said the downtrend in inflation was primarily due to the lower growth rate in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 5.7 percent in November, from the previous month’s seven percent.

Inflation for food alone also decelerated further to 5.8 percent in November from 7.1 percent in October. “This is the lowest since the 5.2 percent in May 2022,” Mapa said.

The lower food inflation rate was due mainly to vegetables, which registered an inflation rate of -2 percent in November from 11.9 percent in the previous month.

Other food items also posted lower inflation rates in November from the previous month such as fish (4.9 percent from 5.6 percent), meat (0.5 percent from 0.8 percent), sugar (1.5 percent from 4.9 percent), bread and other cereals (6.9 percent from 7.4 percent) and fruits (13.1 percent from 13.5 percent).

Meanwhile, higher inflation rates were posted in November from the previous month by rice at 15.8 percent from 13.2 percent, and milk, other dairy products and eggs at 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent.

Also driving the downtrend in overall inflation was the transport commodity group, which had a -0.8 percent inflation rate in November from one percent in October.

Given price pressures from geopolitical tensions and extreme weather conditions, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government will need to continue to monitor the inflation situation.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez vowed on Tuesday to help further decrease the level of inflation by way of creating and pursuing pieces of legislation that will bring down to the barest minimum the prices of basic commodities in the market.

The recent deceleration of inflation, according to the Speaker, is a “testament to the collective efforts and resilience of the Filipino people, alongside the commitment of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in stabilizing our economy and improving the living standards of every Filipino.”

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House ways and means committee, personally believes the inflation level last November will be reduced even further before the year ends either at “3.7 to 4.0 percent, barring any shocks to supply.” — Delon Porcalla

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