The Philippines’ headline inflation further decelerated in June, registering its lowest rate in 15 months.
In a briefing on Wednesday, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said headline inflation further slowed to 5.4 percent in June from 6.1 percent in May, the lowest rate recorded since 4.9 percent in April 2022.
In June last year, inflation settled at 6.1 percent.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food items, also went down to 7.4 percent from May’s 7.7 percent.
Meanwhile, year-to-date headline inflation settled at 7.2 percent.
Mapa said the downtrend in inflation was due to the slower annual increase in heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 6.7 percent in June from 7.4 percent in May.
“The main contributor to the slower inflation of food and non-alcoholic beverages is the slower increase in the prices of meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals like chicken, fruits, and nuts, such as mango, and sugar, confectionery, and desserts,” he said.
The faster annual decrease in transport at -3.1 percent during the month from -0.5 percent in May 2023 also contributed to the downtrend of overall inflation.
Mapa said housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels were the third main source of deceleration of the headline inflation in June 2023 with a 5.6 percent annual growth rate from 6.5 percent in May 2023.
Inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR), meanwhile, also slowed to 5.6 percent from 6.5 percent in May.
In areas outside the NCR, inflation likewise eased to 5.3 percent from 6 percent in the previous month.
For the bottom 30 percent of households, inflation also decelerated to 6.1 percent in June from 6.7 percent in May.
BACK TO TARGET RANGE BY YEAREND
After the fifth consecutive month of decline in headline inflation, economic managers expressed optimism that inflation would be back within the government’s 2 percent to 4 percent target range by yearend.
“We are making progress in managing inflation and we can expect that it will decline to within 2 (percent) to 4 percent by the end of the year. The government remains committed to protecting the purchasing power of the Filipino people by ensuring food security, reducing transport and logistics costs, and lowering energy costs for Filipino households,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a separate statement.
Balisacan said the government has been swift to provide immediate solutions to mitigate the effects of rising prices, particularly for the most vulnerable sectors.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier approved the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s food stamp program, which is expected to begin pilot implementation this month.
The program will provide access to food for poor and vulnerable households through monetary-based assistance using electronic cards with P3,000 worth of food credits.
“Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook will continue to take proactive steps to address the main causes of inflation. This is particularly important, considering the impending El Niño, which poses risks to food supply and prices,” Balisacan said.
In a Viber message to reporters, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, meanwhile, said the recent inflation data “confirms that the inflation momentum has continued to fade in recent months.”
“The consistent decline in inflation rate for the fifth consecutive month suggests the government’s continued progress in taming inflation. This indicates that we are on track to manage inflation to within target sometime in the fourth quarter of this year and below the lower limit of the target in the first quarter of 2024,” Diokno said.
He also assured that the government is ready to take on forthcoming challenges and bring down the cost of living while fostering a robust economic environment conducive to growth and macroeconomic stability.*PNA