GROWTH in wholesale prices of general goods hit a three-month high in May due to a faster uptick in food, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Wednesday.

Preliminary PSA data indicated the general wholesale price index (GWPI) rose by 5% year on year in May, quicker than 4.3% in April and the fastest since 6.8% in February 2023.

However, the latest print was slower than the 7.9% growth in May 2022.

General Wholesale Price Index in the Philippines

Year to date the national GWPI averaged 5.5%, slower than the 6.8% average growth a year ago.

The PSA attributed the uptick in May to faster price growth in the heavily weighted food (10.4% from 9.8% in April), and beverages and tobacco (7.3% from 5.7%) indices.

Other commodity groups that increased during the month were manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials (5.8% from 5.2%); machinery and transport equipment (1.5% from 1%); and miscellaneous manufactured articles (5.1% from 3.3%).

Mindanao’s GWPI outpaced the national average, as it rose to 5.7% in May. This was slower than 5.9% in April but faster than 3.6% in May 2022.

“The lower annual growth of GWPI in Mindanao was solely brought about by the annual decline in mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials at -0.2% in May 2023 from 9.6% annual increment in April 2023,” PSA said.

In Luzon, the GWPI accelerated to 4.9% in May, from 4.2% in April. This was still weaker than May 2022’s 8.4%.

Meanwhile, the Visayas GWPI picked up to 3.9% in May, from 3.6% in April but lower than the 4.4% a year earlier.

“Several factors may have caused it, one is the depreciation of the Philippine peso that month making imported goods more expensive coupled with resilience in domestic demand which means an increase in demand for goods and services,” Dan J. Roces, chief economist at Security Bank Corp., said in an e-mail.

“The GWPI may continue to rise in the coming months, but at a slower pace than in May, with factors that are driving up price likely to start to ease more in the second half of the year,” Mr. Roces added. —  Lourdes O. Pilar