June 24, 2022

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March inflation climbs to 6-month high

2 min read
Motorcycle riders are seen at a gas station in Marikina, March 14. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

By Bernadette Therese M. Gadon, Researcher

PHILIPPINE INFLATION climbed to a six-month high in March as food, utilities, and transport costs rose due to the spike in global oil prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed annual headline inflation accelerated to 4% last month from 3% in February, but slightly slower than the 4.1% print in March last year.

The March inflation was fastest since the 4.2% inflation in September 2021. It matched the 4% print in October last year and the 4% median in a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week.

Headline inflation rates in the Philippines

It was also near the upper end of the 3.3-4.1% forecast range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for March.

Inflation, meanwhile, picked up by 0.9% on a monthly basis.

For the first quarter, inflation settled at 3.4%, within the 2-4% central bank’s inflation target band for 2022 but below the full-year forecast of 4.3%.

The central bank said the average inflation this year could breach the upper end of its target band due to surge in global crude oil prices.

However, it projects that inflation will decline and settle within the target band at 3.6% by next year.

“Inflation expectations have likewise risen, but continue to be anchored to the 2-4% target band,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said in a Viber message to reporters.

The BSP chief noted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now a “significant headwind” to the global economic recovery.

“The Russia-Ukraine conflict could affect the Philippines through slower world GDP (gross domestic product) growth, higher crude oil prices, higher world non-oil prices, and potential second-round effects on inflation through transport fares, wages, and food prices,” he said.

“Under these circumstances, the BSP will closely monitor the emerging risks to the outlook for inflation and growth, and…

Neil

2022-04-05 12:34:59

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