Inflation jumps to 4.9 percent in August
MANILA, Philippines—Headline inflation, or the rate of increase in prices of basic commodities, jumped to 4.9 percent in August, the highest figure since January 2019, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday (Sept 7).
This was within the 4.1 to 4.9 percent range projection of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for inflation during the month.
The country’s headline inflation was 4 percent in July 2021. In August 2020, inflation rate was lower at 2.4 percent.
“With the August 2021 inflation, the Philippines’ average inflation from January to August 2021 stood at 4.4 percent,” PSA head Dennis Mapa said in his report.
Mapa said the uptrend in the country’s inflation was mainly caused by higher prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages—6.5 percent in August from 4.9 percent in July.
The BSP earlier expected that the higher prices of liquefied petroleum gas, electricity rates charged by Meralco, and costs of key food items, along with the depreciation of the peso, will be the main sources of the upward price pressures in August.
Meanwhile, Mapa said the recreation and culture index went up by 0.5 percent in August 2021, after recording annual decreases since August last year. Annual increases were also higher in the indices of the following commodity groups:
– Alcoholic beverages and tobacco – 10.3 percent
– Clothing and footwear – 1.8 percent
– Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels – 3.1 percent
– Furnishing, household equipment and routine household maintenance – 2.5 percent
– Transport – 7.2 percent
– Restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services – 3.8 percent.
Core inflation—which excludes select volatile food and energy items to measure underlying price pressures—picked up to 3.3 percent in August, from 2.9 percent in July. In August last year, core inflation was posted at 3.1 percent.
On food index, the annual growth rate at the national level accelerated to 6.9 percent in August this year from 5.1 percent in July. The figure was recorded at 1.7 percent in August 2020.
“By specific food item, double-digit annual growth rates were noted in the indices of meat at 16.4 percent; fish, 12.4 percent; and vegetables, 15.7 percent,” added Mapa.
Similar to the rise in inflation at the national level, price pressures in Metro Manila likewise rose to 3.7 percent in August 2021, from 3.2 percent in July. Inflation in the capital region was at 2.2 percent in August 2020.
Inflation in areas outside Metro Manila likewise accelerated to 5.2 percent, from the previous 4.3 percent. In August 2020, the rate recorded in areas outside Metro Manila was at 2.5 percent.
The upward trend in inflation in areas outside the capital region was mainly due to the higher annual hike in food and non-alcoholic beverages index at 6.5 percent, according to PSA.
All regions outside Metro Manila, except Mimaropa and Caraga, had higher inflation in August, the agency reported. The highest inflation during the month remained in Cagayan Valley at 7.5 percent, while the lowest was still registered in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at 2.5 percent.
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