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Consumer prices rise further in April, breaching full-year target

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Consumer prices rose to its fastest pace in more than five years in April, the government reported this morning.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said April inflation rose to 4.5% from the 4.3% logged in March and 3.2% in the same period last year. Last month’s print was the fastest in at least five years as computed under the 2012-based consumer price index, according to PSA data.

The preliminary result matches the median forecast in a BusinessWorld poll of 11 economists conducted last week. The April print was also within the 3.9-4.7% forecast range for the month given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Department of Economic Research.

The April preliminary result brought year-to-date average to 4.1% – overshooting the 2-4% target band set by the BSP for 2018.

The PSA attributed the acceleration to the faster annual gains recorded in alcoholic beverages and tobacco (20%); clothing and footwear (2.2%); housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (3%); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (2.8%); health (2.8%); transport (4.9%); recreation and culture (1.5%); and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3.4%).

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Meanwhile, growth in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages remained steady from March albeit elevated at a 5.9% rate. This was, however, still higher than 3.3% in April 2017.

The food alone index, meanwhile, eased to 5.5%, slower than the 5.7% recorded in the previous month, but faster than the 3.6% in April 2017. — Christine Joyce S. Castañeda

RECOMMENDED: BSP chief Nestor Espenilla on the central bank’s inflation response

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