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PH inflation remains at 4.5% in April

Higher pork inflation was noted amid the lifting of a price ceiling on pork and chicken, the Philippine Statistics Authority said yesterday*

The country’s inflation rate remained at 4.5 percent in April as prices of some food items were lower, the Philippine Statistics Authority said yesterday.

The average price increase of basic goods and services for the first four months of 2021 was posted also at 4.5 percent.

In a virtual press briefing, PSA Undersecretary and national statistician Dennis Mapa said the decline in the prices of rice, fruits, vegetables, and corn resulted in lower food inflation last month.

“I don’t know whether this is due to additional supply, low demand, impact of community pantries but we saw the decline in prices in sample outlets,” he said.

However, Mapa cited higher pork inflation amid the lifting of an executive order imposing a price ceiling on pork and chicken in Manila Manila, while inflation of chicken and beef in the meat basket also increased.

He said pork inflation in the country reached 57.7 percent last month, the National Capital Region at 68.5 percent, and areas outside of the NCR at 55.5 percent.

“We performed some analysis on the trend…continuous increase was expected in meat inflation. So in the next few months, unless there are interventions, we see that this would continue to go up,” he added.

Mapa said food and non-alcoholic beverages mainly contributed to overall April inflation with price increase of 4.8 percent and 40.9-percent share in the overall inflation.

Meat, particularly pork, had the biggest share of the food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation at 22.1 percent, and fish at 6 percent, he said.

He added that transport, with 17.9-percent inflation, had a 32.1-percent share in overall inflation, with tricycle fare, petroleum and fuels, and jeepney fare as the biggest contributors.

Mapa said six of 11 commodity groups posted faster increases in prices last month. These include housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; health, transport, communication, restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.

He noted an increase in the costs of medicine, laboratory services, and specialized medical services.

Mapa said the inflation in the NCR remained at 3.7 percent, while those in areas outside of the NCR were still at 4.7 percent.

WITHIN PROJECTION

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno said the inflation print for April was within the central bank’s 4.2-5 percent projection for the month.

“The timely approval of the temporary cut in pork import tariff is seen to help address supply constraints and ease price pressures going forward,” he said, referring to the measure targeted to address the impact of the African swine fever on domestic pork supply.

Diokno said inflation expectations are also still well-anchored and the outlook “remains well balanced around the baseline path in 2021, while towards the downside in 2022.”

He added that the global health crisis plays as a downside to risks on inflation and growth but “improvements in external demand, as well as continued rollout of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program and other stimulus measures, will bolster economic recovery.”*PNA

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