Marcos’ economic team wary of El Niño impact on inflation
The Marcos administration’s economic team remains wary of the looming impact of El Niño on the prices of goods and services despite the continued slowdown of headline inflation in May.
Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said in a statement the government was working to implement needed interventions as it aimed to keep prices low and stable for Filipino consumers.
The Philippine Statistics Authority on Tuesday reported that the pace of growth in prices of goods and services that households commonly purchase eased for the fourth month in a row to a 10-month low of 6.1 percent in May.
Balisacan reassured the public that a coordinated and pro-active monitoring system is in place to keep food and energy prices within the target range.The Neda chief said the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook was monitoring current trends and data on local and international prices.
Created to enhance government coordination in managing inflation and mitigating the impact of rising commodity prices, the committee is also keeping tabs on the level of domestic production, import arrivals, climate outlook and other relevant supply and demand information for key commodities.
Balisacan said risks of upward pressure on prices were coming from potential increases in transport fares, wage adjustments, higher electricity rates and domestic prices of key food items resulting from the impact of El Niño.
El Nino is a natural phenomenon characterized by drier conditions that could reduce agricultural output.
To mitigate the impact of El Niño on food security, Balisacan recommended that the government ensure an adequate supply of agricultural inputs, promote early planting in areas likely to experience water deficit in the coming months, and maximize production in nonthreatened areas.
“With accurate data at hand, we can anticipate possible food and energy shortages and provide timely recommendations to prevent increases in commodity prices,” he added. “This will ensure food and energy security and safeguard the purchasing power of Filipino families, especially the poor and vulnerable.”