Inflation will likely return to target in the second quarter and then ease further in the last six months of the year, a Cabinet official said on Wednesday.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno told a press briefing that economic managers were optimistic that consumer price growth — which hit a nine-year high of 6.7 percent last year — would fall back to 2.0-4.0 percent in the April-June period following January’s “significant drop” to 4.4 percent.
“In fact there are scenarios where we’ll see inflation around 2 percent in the third or fourth quarter,” he added.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which expects inflation to average a within-target 3.07 percent this year after hitting 5.2 percent in 2018, has forecast a drop to below 4 percent next month.
In the wake of last year’s surge, economic managers have said that they will continue to push for full implementation of non-monetary and administrative measures to stave off supply bottlenecks said to have led to food price hikes in 2018.
The measures include preparations for a quick and smooth transition to a new import tariff regime, operationalization of the National Single Window to facilitate trade procedures, making high-value crops more adaptive and resilient to climate change, facilitating a comprehensive crop management system, and intensifying the sustainable management of coastal and other marine resources.
The agriculture sector also needs greater attention, they added, with a particular focus on promoting resiliency and adaptability to extreme weather events.
Timely release of the unconditional cash transfers and fuel vouchers to cushion the impact of inflation on vulnerable secters was also stressed.