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November inflation softened to 4.1%, lowest in 20 months

“This brought the average inflation from January to November 2023 to 6.2 percent,” National statistician and civil registrar Dennis Mapa said in a briefing.

The 11-month average, however, remained above the government’s target range of 2 percent to 4 percent for the year.

Mapa said the slight uptick in rice prices for November 2023 was offset by the deceleration in the prices of other food commodities such as fish, meat, sugar and vegetables.

Mapa said their data collection showed that the average price of regular-milled rice per kilogram in November increased to P46.73 from P45.42 a month ago. Well-milled rice price also went up to P51.99 from P51, while the cost of special rice rose to P61.47 from P60.95.

“All three subgroups of rice increased month on month, causing higher rice inflation for the month,” Mapa said.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the further drop in the inflation rate could be attributed to the timely implementation of strategies to stabilize food supply amid the anticipated domestic and external headwinds in the coming months.

The downtrend in the overall inflation last month was primarily brought about by the decrease in food inflation to 5.8 percent from 7.1 percent in October.

This was due to the deflation in vegetables (-2.0 percent from 11.9 percent) and lower inflation of fish (4.9 percent from 5.6 percent), meat (0.5 percent from 0.8 percent), sugar (1.5 percent from 4.9 percent), bread and other cereals (6.9 percent from 7.4 percent) and fruits (13.1 percent from 13.5 percent), according to NEDA.

Non-food inflation eased further to 2.9 percent from 3.4 percent in October, resulting from deflation in transportation (-0.8 percent from 1.0 percent) and slower inflation in restaurant and accommodation services (5.6 percent from 6.3 percent).

“With the right interventions in place, including the proper and timely deployment of trade policy, we are confident that we can effectively manage inflation and prevent unnecessary upticks in prices of goods and commodities to safeguard the purchasing power of Filipino families, especially those from the most vulnerable sectors,” Balisacan said.

He said the government would continue monitoring the inflation situation in the face of continued price pressures coming from geopolitical tensions and extreme weather situations, further fueling uncertainty.

Balisacan said that to ensure sufficient supply and stable prices of rice, the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO) sub-committee on food inflation proposed to maintain the lower tariff rates on rice, corn and swine meat.

The Bangko Sentral said the latest inflation outturn was consistent with its projections that inflation would likely moderate over the near term due to easing supply-side price pressures and negative base effects.

“The balance of risks to the inflation outlook still leans significantly towards the upside. Key upside risks are associated with the potential impact of higher transport charges, electricity rates, and international oil prices, as well as higher-than-expected minimum wage adjustments in areas outside the National Capital Region,” the BSP said.

“Looking ahead, the Monetary Board deems it necessary to keep monetary policy settings sufficiently tight until a sustained downtrend in inflation becomes evident,” it said. — Julito G. Rada

Credit belongs to: www.manilastandard.net

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