DoF sees November inflation easing to 3.2%

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INFLATION likely eased in November, as stable food prices are seen to offset higher fuel costs and electricity rates, the Department of Finance (DoF) said on Friday.

In an economic bulletin, the DoF said inflation likely came in at 3.2% last month, lower than the 3.5% in October, which was the fastest in three years. The November print would be higher than the 2.5% recorded during the same month in 2016.

The DoF’s forecast falls within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ 2.9-3.6% forecast range announced earlier this week.

The DOF projected the increase in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages slowed to 2.9% in November from October’s 3.6%, while alcoholic beverages and tobacco dropped to 6.2% from 6.8%.

However, prices for housing, utilities and fuels subgroup likely grew by 4.2%, from the previous month’s 4%, while furnishings, household equipment increased by 1.9% from October’s 1.8%.

The DoF also cited the higher electricity rates and retail pump prices. Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) rate per kilowatt hour (kwh) for a household consuming 200 kilowatts per month increased by 35 centavos to P9.63 in November.

The price of diesel per liter in the National Capital Region went up to P35.37 last month from P34.51 in October. Gasoline prices, on the other hand, rose to P48.44 per liter in November from P46.89 per liter in the previous month.

“Adequate supply of goods from higher production will further dampen inflation rise in the future. This will likewise temper the rise in interest rates despite the ongoing [US Federal Reserve] tightening,” the DoF said in a statement.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will report November inflation data on Tuesday.

Overall commodity price increases averaged 3.2% in the ten months to October. — K.A.N. Vidal