Philippine inflation cools to slowest in 6 months2 min read
By Keisha B. Ta-asan, Reporter
Philippine headline inflation cooled in March to the slowest in six months, amid lower prices of food and transport, the statistics agency said.
However, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, accelerated to the fastest since December 2020.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed annual headline inflation eased to 7.6% from 8.6% in February, but much faster than the 4% print a year ago.
March inflation was the slowest print since the 6.9% print in September 2022. This is also below than the 8.1% median from a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week.
“The March 2023 inflation outturn of 7.6% is within the BSP’s (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) forecast range of 7.4-8.2%, consistent with the overall assessment that inflation will remain elevated over the near term before gradually decelerating back to target range towards end-2023,” the central bank said in a statement.
Seasonally adjusted, inflation recorded zero percent monthly rate in March from 0.3% in February.
For the first quarter, the consumer price index (CPI) averaged 8.3%, higher than the central bank’s full-year forecast of 6% and the 2-4% target band.
Core inflation, on the other hand, quickened to 8% in March, from 7.8% in February and 2.2% a year ago. This is its highest clip since the 8.2% seen in December 2000.
At a press briefing, PSA Undersecretary and National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said food and non-alcoholic beverages were the main source of the deceleration in March inflation.
The index for food and non-alcoholic beverages eased to 9.3% from 10.8% in the previous month.
Food inflation alone decelerated to 9.5% in March from the 11.1% in February.
Mr. Mapa said the downtrend in food inflation was due to slower rise in prices of vegetables, tubers, plantains and cooking bananas (20% in February from 33.1% in February), meat and other parts…
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