Consumer prices in March picked up further to its fastest pace in more than five years on account of increased prices in food and beverages, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.
Overall inflation rose by 4.3% year-on-year in March, faster than the previous month’s 3.8% and March 2017’s 3.1% increase. This puts the year-to-date figure inflation at 3.8%.
The March preliminary result exceeded the 2-4% target range set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for the year as well as the 4.2% median estimate in a BusinessWorld poll of nine economists last week. This was, however, within the 3.8%-4.6% forecast for the month that was given late last week.
Using the 2012 base, inflation last reached the four-percent mark at 4.2% in July and August 2014.
The PSA attributed the increase to higher prices logged in the indices of beverages and tobacco (18.6% from 16.9%); food and non-alcoholic beverages (5.9% from last month’s 4.8%%); and housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (2.9% from 2.6%); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (2.7% from 2.4%); restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3.0% from 2.5%); health (2.4% from 2.1%) and communication (0.3% from 0.2%).
The food alone index, meanwhile, went up 5.7% in March from 4.8% in February and 3.1% in March 2017.
“The rest of the commodity groups retained their previous month’s growth with the transport index registering a slower annual rate of 4.6 percent,” the PSA added. — Carmina Angelica V. Olano