The increase in the prices of widely used goods continued to ease in February, the government reported this morning.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed February inflation at 3.8%, slower than the 4.4% logged in January and matching the inflation rate in February 2018 .
The preliminary result was lower than the 4.1% median forecast in a BusinessWorld poll of 13 economists conducted last week. The February print was also within the 3.7%-4.5% estimate by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Department of Economic Research for the month.
The February reading marked the fourth straight month of deceleration from the 6.7% peak recorded in September and October last year.
“Slowdown in inflation remained to be primarily attributed to the slower annual increase in the index of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 4.7%,” the PSA said.
“Annual gains were also slower in the indices of other commodity groups, except for communication and education. The education index continued to post a negative annual rate of 3.8%. Moreover, inflation for communication remained at 0.4%.”
The preliminary result brought year-to-date average to 4.1% – slightly above the 2%-4% target band set by the BSP for the year.
Core inflation – which excludes volatile food and energy items in the consumer basket – was 3.9% last month, slower than January’s 4.4% albeit faster than the 3% in the same period last year.
The food alone index, meanwhile, eased to 4.2% versus the previous month’s 5.1% and 4.8% a year ago. — Christine Joyce S. Castañeda