Inflation eased for the second straight month in September to its lowest level in four months on the back of moderating prices in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data released earlier this morning showed headline inflation at 2.3% in September – the lowest since May’s 2.1%.

The result was also down from 2.4% in August, but higher compared to the 0.9% print in September 2019.

The latest reading, which matched the median estimate of 2.3% in a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week, fell within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 1.8%-2.6% forecast range for September.

“The downtrend in the overall inflation in September 2020 was mainly caused by the slowdown in the inflation for the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages which eased at an annual rate of 1.5% during the month, from 1.8% in the previous month,” the PSA said in a statement.

Year to date, inflation has so far averaged 2.5%. This was higher than the BSP’s revised forecast of 2.3% for 2020, but within its 2-4% target band for the year.

Food inflation registered at 1.5% in September compared to 1.7% in August and minus 1.3% September last year.

Core inflation, which excludes items such as food and energy that are prone to volatile price swings, edged up to 3.2% from 3.1% in August. This was also faster than last year’s 2.7%.

Meanwhile, inflation for the bottom 30% income households logged in at 2.8% in September. This was faster than the previous month’s 2.7% and last year’s 0.2%.

The consumer price index (CPI) for the bottom 30% modifies the model basket of goods to reflect the spending patterns of the poor. This compared to the headline CPI which measures inflation as experienced by the average household. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman