INFLATION probably settled at 2.4-3.2% in February due to lower fuel, utility and food prices, according to the Philippine central bank.
“Lower prices of petroleum products, electricity and rice as well as other food products are expected’ to temper price pressures in February,” the economic research department of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a statement on Friday.
Consumer prices rose 2.9% in January, the fastest in eight months, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) earlier said typical households can expect a P118 cut in their monthly bills for February after new power supply deals helped bring down the cost of electricity.
The country’s largest distribution utility said the electricity rate this month for most homes that consume 200 kilowatt-hour (kWh) would go down by P0.59/kWh to P8.8623/kWh from last month.
The decrease for the second straight month this year brings the cost of power to its lowest in two years, the company said.
For consumers using 300 kW, 400 kWh and 500 kWh, the cut in their monthly electricity bills will be P177, P236 and P295, respectively.
Meralco said its competitive selection process had helped bring down the power generation charge by P0.3949 to P4.509/kWh.
Reuters reported that oil prices continued to fall for the fifth consecutive day on Thursday to reach their lowest level in more than a year as the continuous spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) spook investor fears that the outbreak could dent the global economy.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is reducing crude supplies to China in March by at least 500,000 barrels per day due to slower refinery demand after the coronavirus outbreak, Reuter said, citing unidentified sources.
The Philippine Statistics Authority will report February inflation data on Mar. 5.
“Looking ahead, the BSP will remain watchful of economic and financial developments to ensure that its primary mandate of price stability conducive to balanced and sustainable economic growth is achieved,” the central bank said. — Luz Wendy T. Noble