Inflation slows to 5.1% in December, but 2018 average of 5.2% hit 10-year high
MANILA, Philippines — The rise in consumer prices eased to 5.1 percent last December even as inflation remained elevated for the entire 2018 and beyond the range that the government had considered as stable price increases.
In a report Friday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said headline inflation in December rose at its slowest since June 2018’s 5.2-percent uptick.
Compared with November, prices in December slid 0.4 percent, making it two straight months of month-on-month declines.
Last December’s rate was the first time since August that inflation fell below the 6-percent level.
In September and October, the inflation rate hit 6.7 percent, an over nine-year high, such that the government immediately addressed food supply bottlenecks, especially of rice, as these had elevated prices.
Prices of consumer goods also increased last year due to the higher or new excise taxes slapped on consumption under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, as well as skyrocketing global oil prices.
For full-year 2018, inflation averaged 5.2 percent, above the government’s 2-4 percent target range.
To compare, the average inflation rate in 2017 was only 2.9 percent.
The 2018 rate was also the highest since 2008’s 8.2 percent year-on-year increase in prices, making it an 10-year high, PSA data showed. /muf