Consumer prices rose at a slower pace last month brought about by softer costs of transportation as well as food and beverages, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on Tuesday, Oct. 5.


The country’s headline inflation eased to 4.8 percent in September from 4.9 percent in the previous month, but the latest figure is significantly faster compared with the 2.3 percent rise in the same month last year.

The September inflation was also at the low-end of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast of between 4.8 percent and 5.6 percent for the month.

Despite last month’s slowdown, inflation averaged 4.5 percent for the first nine months of 2021, well above the Duterte administration’s official target of between two percent to four percent for the whole year.

National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the slightly slower inflation in September was driven by transport cost which registered a 5.2 percent increase, contributing to 55.8 percent of the overall rise in consumer prices.

In August, transport inflation was seen at 7.2 percent.

Mapa added that food and non-alcoholic beverages also helped in softening last month’s price adjustments after registering a much slower 6.2 percent up tick, cornering a 39.9 percent share in inflation movement.

Food price increases slowed to 6.5 percent last month from 6.9 percent in August. Rice inflation recorded zero growth, while fish decelerated to 10.2 percent from 12.4 percent.

Moreover, meat inflation weakened to 15.6 percent from 16.4 percent, as pork went down to 36.4 percent from 39 percent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the slower meat inflation is attributed to executive orders 133, and 134 which reduced pork import tariff and increased pork imports allocation.

“The government is continuously accelerating and calibrating its implementation so we can further lower pork prices towards their pre-African Swine Fever (ASF) level,” Chua said.

The government adopted EOs 133 and 134 last May to help increase the supply of pork in the country amid its shortage due to ASF. The interventions increased the minimum access volume (MAV) for imported pork, and imposed a temporary reduction of pork tariffs, respectively.

To expedite the utilization of the additional MAV, Chua recommended to reduce restrictions in the MAV plus so that imported pork can be sold in more areas and to unload more pork stocks in cold storages to the markets.

The average stocks of frozen pork in the first three-weeks of September increased to 79,042 metric tons from 73,159 metric tons in August.

The timely release of pork stocks will help address the supply gap and bring down pork prices, Chua said.

On the other hand, to help augment the fish supply in the coming closed fishing season, the Department of Agriculture issued a Certificate of Necessity to Import (CNI) with a maximum importable volume of 60,000 metric tons of small pelagic fish such as galunggong, mackerel, and bonito for wet markets.

The government will proactively monitor the supply and demand of fish and immediately issue supplemental CNIs as necessary, Chua said.

“To cover the expected supply gap during the upcoming closed fishing season, the government will temporarily allow more imports in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022,” Chua said.

“The government will continue to proactively monitor the supply and demand of these commodities to ensure access to affordable food amid the pandemic,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (