Inflation further eased for the sixth straight month in April, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported this morning.

April’s headline rate of 3% was down from 3.3% in March and 4.5% in the same month last year. It was the slowest since the 2.9% recorded in Dec. 2017.

The April reading was lower than the 3.1% estimate median in BusinessWorld’s poll of 10 economists late last week. The latest figure also fell within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 2.7%-3.5% forecast for the month.

Year-to-date, inflation is at 3.6%, which is within the BSP’s 2-4% target range for 2019 as well as being on track towards the BSP’s three percent forecast for the entire year.

Core inflation, which strips commodities prone to volatile price swings, went down to 3.4% in April from 3.5% in March.

“The slowdown was mainly brought about by the slower annual increase in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index at 3% [from 3.4% in March],” the PSA noted in a statement.

The PSA also noted slower annual increments in the following commodity groups: alcoholic beverages and tobacco (9.9% from 10.8%); clothing and footwear (2.4% from 2.5%); housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (3.2% from 3.4%); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (3.2% from 3.4%); health (3.7% from 3.9%); and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3.5% from 3.7%).

Food-alone inflation eased to 2.9% versus the previous month’s 3.1% and
5.5% a year ago.

“The rest of the commodity groups either exhibited higher annual hikes or retained their previous month’s annual rates,” the PSA said. — Lourdes O. Pilar