Inflation falls to 42-month low but ASF makes chicken, beef pricier in NCR
MANILA, Philippines–Retail prices of rice declined year-on-year for the sixth straight month in October, pulling down inflation to a 42-month low of 0.8 percent, the government reported Tuesday.
While the nationwide headline inflation rate was the lowest since April 2016’s 0.7 percent, National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa told a press conference that the rate of increase in prices of basic commodities in the National Capital Region (NCR) inched up to 1.3 percent year-on-year last month from 0.9 percent in September due to “higher annual increment in food and non-alcoholic beverages,” especially chicken meat amid the African swine fever (ASF) scare.
Chicken and beef prices were on the rise in NCR and Region 3 as more consumers buy these meat products instead of pork, whose prices, in turn, were on the decline, Mapa said.
In areas outside NCR, it was in Region 3 that inflation was the highest last month, at 2.3 percent year-on-year.
In the case of rice, Mapa said the Filipino food staple posted the sixth consecutive month of deflation, as prices dropped 9.7 percent year-on-year in October, the biggest decline since 1995.
The economic team had been attributing the declining rice prices to liberalized rice importation under the Rice Tariffication Law being implemented since March.
To recall, rice prices jumped 10.7 percent in October last year—the peak of rice inflation, due to domestic supply bottlenecks that were later on resolved by government orders easing food importation.
Prices of corn and vegetables last month were also lower from a year ago levels by 3.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
At the end of the first 10 months, headline inflation averaged 2.6 percent, within the government’s 2-4 percent target range.
The national inflation rate in October last year hit an almost 10-year high of 6.7 percent, hence a high base that translated into last month’s minimal year-on-year increment. /jpv
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