MANILA, Philippines – The country’s headline inflation further eased to 0.8 percent in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.
The PSA said the latest inflation figure is lower than the 0.9 percent recorded in September, and a sharp slide compared to the 6.7 percent in October 2018.
October’s inflation rate is the slowest in more than three years, bringing the year-to-date inflation to 2.6 percent.
Inflation means the rate of increase in prices of goods and services.
National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the downtrend in the latest inflation was primarily due to the annual drop in the index of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as transportation costs.
Slower increases in rates of water, housing, gas, electricity, and other fuels were also noted, as well as in household equipment and routine maintenance, and health and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.
Mapa added that rice prices also maintained its year-on-year decline, with a 9.7 percent drop for the six-straight month, while transport expenses also settled lower compared to last year.
Data from the PSA also showed that inflation was higher in Metro Manila where prices of basic commodities increased by 1.3 percent. Prices in regions, meanwhile, moved slower in an average of 0.7 percent.
Malacañang welcomed the slower inflation rate but assured it will continue to monitor the prices of basic commodities especially during the holiday season.
“As inflation continues to drop, the current government will continue to not let its guard down in monitoring the prices of basic commodities, especially now that we are in the ber months, approaching Christmas season,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also welcomed the latest inflation rate, attributing it to the government’s drive and focus in its anti-inflationary efforts this year.
“We hope to further keep inflation manageable and within the government’s target,” NEDA Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro said in a separate statement.
She, however, warned that the country must be in the lookout for upside risks such as cases of African Swine Fever (ASF), which have been observed so far in Rizal, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Cavite, and Quezon City.
“The livestock industry in the said ASF-stricken areas, which accounts for 21.7 percent of the country’s total hog production last year, remains at high risk. The government and private companies must collaborate to manage, contain, and control the spread of the disease,” Navarro said.
She also urged meat processing plants to enforce more stringent bio-security measures, and expand and place quarantine checkpoints and disinfection facilities in key gateways such as seaports, airports, and expressways.