THE average retail price of well-milled rice increased in eight trading centers in early February, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Prices rose during the Feb. 1-5 period, which the PSA refers to as the first phase of February, compared with the prices from Jan. 15-16, or the second phase of that month.

Higher prices were reported in Calapan City, where they rose by P1.72 to P51.25, in Baguio City by P1.26 to P44.84, in Tuguegarao City by 75 centavos to P40.75, and in Digos City by 50 centavos to P42.

Prices also increased in Cotabato City by 45 centavos to P38.50, in Cebu City by 37 centavos to P52.13, in Legazpi City by 10 centavos to P42.48, and in Butuan City by 10 centavos to P40.

On the other hand, the average retail price for a kilogram of refined sugar decreased in six trading centers during the Feb. 1-5 period.

They were down by P4.30 at P102.13 in Pagadian City, P3 at P102 in Batangas City, P2.50 at P102.50 in Iloilo City, P1.75 at P98 in Baguio City, P1.50 at P103.98 in Tuguegarao City, and P1.50 at P90.48 in Butuan City.

Retail prices rose by P3.50 to P108.50 in Digos City, P2.50 to P105.25 in Cebu City, P2 to P105.50 in Calapan City, P1.43 to P108.93 in Kidapawan City, and 45 centavos to P102.29 in the National Capital Region. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera