Inflation breaks 4-month downtrend with 3.4% spike in Feb

Inflation breaks 4-month downtrend with 3.4% spike in Feb

Fruit vendor in public market in Quezon City

FILE PHOTO: Vendors wearing face masks for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) stand by their fruit stalls at a public market in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Inflation snapped four straight months of slowdown after quickening to 3.4 percent in February on the back of higher prices of key food items, especially rice.

The February reading was markedly faster than the 2.8 percent price growth in January, data released Tuesday by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.


The figure also fell within the projection of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas of 2.8 to 3.6 percent. Overall, February marked the third straight month that inflation was still inside the state’s 2 to 4 percent target range.


At its meeting last month, the Monetary Board left its benchmark rate unchanged at 6.5 percent, the highest in more than 16 years, in what the BSP called a “prudent” move amid persistent risks to the inflation outlook.

BSP’s concern at the moment are higher transport charges and electricity rates, as well as costlier oil and domestic food prices. The central bank is also wary of the additional impact on food prices of a strong El Niño episode.

For this year, the BSP said inflation would ease in the first quarter before potentially soaring above the target anew in the second quarter as favorable base effects fade. From there, price growth is projected to return to the target band in the third quarter to end the year at an average of 3.6 percent, a tad lower than the BSP’s previous baseline forecast of 3.7 percent.

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TAGS: Inflation, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)

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