September inflation hits 6.9%

The country’s headline inflation has accelerated to 6.9 percent in September from 6.3 percent in August this year, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Wednesday.

“This is the highest recorded inflation since October 2018. With this month’s inflation, the Philippines’ average inflation rate from January to September 2022 stood at 5.1 percent,” PSA Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said.

In September last year, inflation rate was observed at 4.2 percent.

The acceleration of the inflation rate in September was primarily because of the higher annual growth rate in the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages at 7.4 percent, from 6.3 percent in August 2022.

Mapa said that this was followed by housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels with 7.3 percent annual growth, from 6.8 percent in August 2022.

“Also contributing to the uptrend in the overall inflation in September 2022 were the higher annual increases in the indices of the following commodity groups: Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 9.8 percent; Clothing and footwear, 2.9 percent; Furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance, 3.5 percent; Information and communication, 0.5 percent; Recreation, sport, and culture, 2.7 percent; Restaurants and accommodation services, 4.6 percent; and Personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services, 3.4 percent,” he added.

On the other hand, lower annual increments were observed in the indices of health at 2.4 percent; transport at 14.5 percent; and education services at 3.5 percent.

Meanwhile, financial services retained the previous month’s inflation rate.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy items in the headline inflation, was lower at 4.5 percent in September this year, from 4.6 percent in August 2022. In September last year, core inflation was observed at 2.6 percent.

“Inflation for food at the national level rose to 7.7 percent in September 2022, from 6.5 percent in August 2022. In September 2021, food inflation was lower at 5.2 percent,” Mapa said.

The acceleration in the food inflation was primarily influenced by the positive annual growth rate in the index of vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses at 3.5 percent, from 2.7 percent in August 2022.

Moreover, faster annual growth rates were also seen in the following food groups: Rice, 2.4 percent; Corn, 26.2 percent; Flour, bread and other bakery products, pasta products, and other cereals, 9.0 percent; Fish and other seafood, 9.1 percent; Milk, other dairy products and eggs, 7.6 percent; Oils and fats, 20.1 percent; Sugar, confectionery and desserts, 30.2 percent; and  Ready-made food and other food products not elsewhere classified (n.e.c.), 6.7 percent, Mapa added.

Meanwhile, August inflation slowed down for the first time in six months to 6.3 percent from 6.4 percent in July.

The slight easing was mainly because of slower increases in transport fares and in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, especially vegetables, meat and fish.

Inflation saw a five-month uptrend starting at 3 percent in February. The latest readout hiked the eight-month average (January to August) to 4.9 percent, farther above the government’s target range of 2 percent to 4 percent for the full year.

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