Pundits see Sept. inflation higher

Inflation for September was estimated at 6.8 percent year-on -year, faster than 6.3 percent in August, mainly because of lower base effects.

“Major catalysts for inflation are; weaker peso exchange rate to new record levels, with total depreciation of 15 percent since the start of 2022 that may lead to higher prices of imports and some pick up in overall inflation,” chief economist Michael Ricafort of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. told Daily Tribune over the weekend.

“Also, super typhoon “Karding” storm damage in Central and Northern Luzon, especially hard-hit provinces that are among the biggest producers of rice, corn, vegetables, and other food/agricultural products, could lead to higher prices of food-agricultural products until supply conditions normalize,” he added.

Furthermore, the economist also said that another catalyst for September inflation is the higher Meralco electricity rate.

Important offsetting factor; rollbacks in local fuel pump prices after global crude oil prices declined to 8.5-month lows (or since early January 2022) recently, as this could help ease inflation.

The latest round of transport fare increases, highlighted by the P1 hike in minimum jeepney fare effective by early October 2022, could still lead to some inflation uptick.

“Inflation could still peak around October 2022 at around seven percent and could mathematically ease after that,” Ricafort said.

Higher local policy rates would lead to some increase in borrowing/financing costs that could lead to lower earnings and valuations and slow down the economy as an unintended consequence in the quest to fight off inflationary pressures, he said.

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