Inflation inched up to 1.3% in November following five straight months of easing, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported earlier this morning.

November’s headline inflation rate was up from 0.8% in October, albeit slower than the six-percent inflation rate posted in November 2018.

The latest inflation reading was also higher than the 1.2% median estimate in BusinessWorld’s poll of 16 economists conducted last week but fell within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 0.9%-1.7% forecast for the month.

The overall rise in prices of widely used goods averaged 2.5% in the 11 months to November compared to the BSP’s 2.4% forecast and 2-4% target range for 2019.

Stripping out volatile prices of energy and food, core inflation steadied at 2.6% in November. Year-to-date, it averaged 3.3%.

In a press briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the faster inflation was primarily due to the higher annual increases in alcoholic beverages and tobacco (17.6% from 16.5% in October); housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels indices (1.2% from 0.6%).

He also noted the health index’s 3.1% uptick, which was faster than 2.9% in October.

The heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index posted a year-on-year growth of zero-percent in November versus the 0.9% decline in October.

Meanwhile, food-alone inflation continued to decline by 0.2% in November but was slower compared to October’s 1.3% contraction. — Edwin C. Aruta, Jr.