INFLATION QUICKENED in May to its highest level in three and a half years, fueled by soaring food and transport costs, the statistics agency said on Tuesday.
The overall prices of consumer goods and services accelerated by 5.4% year on year in May, faster than the 4.9% in April and 4.1% a year ago, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
This matched the median estimate in a BusinessWorld poll conducted late last week. It also hit the midpoint of the 5-5.8% forecast range given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for the month.
It was the second straight month that inflation zoomed past the central bank’s 2-4% target band.
The inflation print in May was the fastest pace in 42 months or since the 6.1% year-on-year growth logged in November 2018.
“The inflation path continues to be driven primarily by supply-side factors amid volatile global commodity prices. Supply chain disruptions could also contribute to inflationary pressures, and thus warrant closer monitoring to enable timely intervention to arrest emergence of further second-round effects,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said in a statement.
Month on month, consumer prices went up by 0.4%. However, it increased by 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis.
Inflation has averaged 4.1% annually so far this year, still lower than the revised 4.6% forecast by the central bank.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the May inflation print was driven by the rise in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, utilities, and transport.
Prices of the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages jumped by 4.9% year on year in May, fueled by the 15.2% increase in vegetables, tubers, etc. and 6.2% jump in fish and seafood.
“We saw (in April) that the increase in transport costs was having a spillover effect on the food basket. This month, we have seen there is now a big effect,” Mr. Mapa said in…
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