Home Breaking News December inflation slowest in seven months
December inflation slowest in seven months
By Carmina Angelica V. Olano, Researcher
Inflation eased for the second straight month in December by the slowest pace since May’s 4.6%, helped by slower increases in food and transport prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.
Headline inflation dropped to 5.1% last month from 6% in November, the PSA said this morning. This, however, is still faster than the 2.9% posted in December 2017.
Inflation had picked up for nine straight months to a nine-year-high 6.7% in September that was sustained in October before dropping to six percent in November.
The latest inflation pace is lower than the 5.7% median in a BusinessWorld poll late last week and falls below the 5.2-6% estimate given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for last month.
Full-year inflation came in at 5.2% against the central bank’s 2-4% target range for 2018 and was the fastest since 2008’s 8.2%.
Stripping out volatile prices of energy and food, core inflation clocked 4.7% in December, slower than November’s 5.1%, fueling a 4.2% average for 2018.
In a press briefing this morning, National Statistician Lisa Grace S. Bersales noted “slowdowns” in the year-on-year increases of food and non-alcoholic drinks, which eased to 6.7% in December from 8% in November; and transport to four percent from 8.9%.
In particular, food inflation declined except for other cereals, flour, cereal preparation, bread, pasta and other bakery products, which accelerated 4.1% in December from 3.9% a month ago. Rice prices eased to six percent overall in December, slower than the 8.1% pace posted in the preceding month. Increments of fish prices also moderated to 9.9% from 12.5%, meat to 5.5% from 6.3%, and vegetables to 8.1% from 11.5%.
Meanwhile, transport costs also slowed at four percent from November’s 8.9% pace.
PSA noted that the overall increase in prices of widely used goods slowed in all regions of the country. In Metro Manila, inflation eased to 4.8% in December from 5.6% a month ago, while overall price hikes similarly dropped to 5.3% from 6.2% in areas outside the National Capital Region.
For the full year, inflation in Metro Manila outpaced the national average at 5.5%, while it was slower in areas outside the capital at 5.1%.