RETAIL price growth in Metro Manila was 2.9% year on year in December, unchanged from a month earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Wednesday.

Citing preliminary data, the PSA said the December general retail price index (GRPI) in the National Capital Region (NCR) was the lowest reading since the 2.7% reported in March 2022. Year-earlier price growth had been 6%.

Over the full year, GRPI growth averaged 4.5%.

General Retail Price Index in the National Capital Region

The GRPI movements mirror the moderation noted in the consumer price index (CPI) inflation, according to ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa.

“This reflects a favorable base as well as improvements in the supply chain, resulting in a slower pickup in prices for both GRPI and CPI,” he said in an e-mail.

Headline inflation in December eased to 3.9%, coming in within the 2-4% target range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, amid slowing price increases for utilities and food.

Mr. Mapa also expects the downward trend of the index to continue at least for the first half of 2024.

Slower price growth was recorded in the heavily weighted food index which was up 4.4% in December, against 4.7% in November.

Price growth accelerated in chemicals, including animal and vegetable oils and fats, to 2.7% from 2.6%.

Price growth in miscellaneous manufactured articles was 1.4% in December, against 1.3% a month earlier.

Meanwhile, the mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials category arrested its price decline to -1.4% from -3.5% in November.

Other commodities that posted unchanged levels of price growth in December were beverages and tobacco (4.9%), crude materials, inedible except fuels (2.5%), manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials (1.9%), and machinery and transport equipment (1.3%). — Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo