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Inflation drops to 3% in Jan

THE country's headline inflation rate eased to its lowest level in over a year in January, at 3 percent, owing to lower annual increases in utility rates and energy prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday.

PSA data showed that the current rate is the slowest since the 2.3 percent in October 2020 and is also lower than the 3.5 percent average estimate of economists polled by The Manila Times.

It is within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) target range of 2 to 4 percent for the year.

During a virtual briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa explained, “The reason for the slowdown in the inflation rate in January 2022 is the slower price movement of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels with 4.5-percent inflation and 77.1-percent share in the decline in overall inflation in the country.”

The lower annual increases in the indices of the following commodity groups, he added, contributed to the overall inflation downtrend: alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 5.6 percent; health, 3.1 percent; recreation, sport and culture, 1.5 percent; education services, 0.6 percent; and restaurants and accommodation services, 3.0 percent.

On the other hand, annual increases were higher in the indices of the following commodity groups: clothing and footwear, 2.0 percent; furnishing, household equipment and routine household maintenance, 2.4 percent; transport, 7.0 percent; information and communication, 0.7 percent; and personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services, 2.2 percent.

Inflation for the bottom 30 percent of households was 3.2 percent in January, down from 3.3 percent in December 2021 and 4.9 percent a year ago.

The latest headline consumer price growth figure, said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno in a separate statement, “supports the narrative that inflation is on its downward trajectory.”

For its part, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government continues to tighten its programs to promote the livestock industry and lower food prices

Non-food inflation fell to 3.8 percent in January from 3.9 percent in December 2021, it underscored. In the meantime, food inflation stayed at 1.6 percent in January, “as the slower inflation in meat was offset by the faster inflation in corn.”

In January, meat inflation declined to 4.3 percent, down from 8.7 percent in December, as all meat items reduced in price. Inflation in pork, in instance, has slid from 10.8 percent to 6.2 percent.

Corn inflation, on the other hand, jumped from 16.5 percent in December to 27.7 percent in January, indicating the need for a more thorough livestock value chain reform program, the agency added.

“While we move for the extension of Executive Order Nos. 133 and 134 to increase local supply and ensure regular unloading of stocks, we also call for the timely passage of the proposed Livestock Development and Competitiveness (LDC) bill to boost the productivity of the livestock sector and value chain,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in the statement.

The update of the corn industry roadmap, as well as the development of “competitiveness enhancement funds” for the components of the livestock value chain, are among the primary elements of the LDC bill, the NEDA added. This can cover corn farmers. Because corn is used to feed livestock, poultry and fish, it may be able to help reduce fish inflation, which was 6.2 percent in January.

“We are taking a more proactive approach in promoting the development and competitiveness of corn. We are doing this to help ease prices of sources of protein, such as meat and fish, which are still among the top drivers of our country's overall inflation,” said Chua, who is also the head of NEDA.

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Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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