Inflation remained unchanged despite higher food prices in October
Inflation in October remained unchanged at 2.3 percent from a month ago despite food prices increasing due to two storms, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Thursday.
The rate remains close to a 19-month high but it stayed with a forecast by the central bank from 1.9 to 2.7 percent
“The steady inflation rate in October is due to slower increases in prices of health commodities, and alcoholic beverages and tobacco,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a statement.
He added although domestic demand is seen remaining robust, supply conditions, particularly of food, are expected to improve.
“This should help keep commodity prices steady. Rice prices will be kept stable by the timely arrival of rice imports under the government-to-government procurement scheme,” said Pernia.
Food inflation slightly rose to 3.5 percent in October 2016 from 3.1 percent in the previous month. Vegetable prices rose due to typhoons Lawin and Karen.
“But inflation for January to October 2016 averaged at 1.6 percent, well below the target range of two to four percent set by the government for this year. We expect inflation for full year 2016 to settle below the target range but upside risks remain,” Pernia said.
Risks include a possible rally in oil prices, depreciation of the peso against the US dollar, pending petitions for electricity rate increase, and tropical cyclones.
The state weather agency said there is a 65 percent chance of La Nina developing in the fourth quarter of 2016, lasting until February 2017.
Non-food inflation remained at 1.5 percent as mild price increases were registered in majority of non-food indices such as housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; transport; communication; education; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.
Core inflation, which excludes selected volatile food and energy prices, likewise remained stable at 2.3 percent in October. DMS