Philippine Inflation Rate Hits 9-Year High

Luis Liwanag
181005-PH-inflation-620.jpg A vendor at the Malimgas market in northern Dagupan city, Philippines, offers fresh vegetables, May 2015.
Karl Romano/BenarNews

The inflation rate in the Philippines rose to 6.7 percent year-on-year in September – a new nine-year high – according to the country’s economic managers.

While the figure was well within the 6.3 percent to 7.1 percent increase forecast earlier by the central bank, government officials on Friday said they expected many in the lower rungs of the economic sector to be hit hardest.

The government understands “that many are feeling the hit of a faster inflation rate, particularly those who toil so hard just to keep up,” the economic team said in a statement.

“We assure everyone that we are working swiftly to temper the rise in the prices of goods and offer relief to those most affected,” said the team, which includes the budget and management office as well as the finance department.

Earlier on Friday, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the inflation rate hit 6.7 percent, up by 0.3 percent from August as prices for food and beverages continued to rise.

It said supply disruptions caused by Typhoon Mangkhut were expected to drive prices upward as storm-related damage to agriculture amounted to 26.8 billion pesos (U.S. $494.86 million).

“This has kept the price of the country’s staple grain elevated despite the arrival of some imported rice and the improvement in the rice stocks of the National Food Authority,” the team said.

In addition, “global fuel prices remain a concern in the near term given the gloomy outlook on oil supply and an increasing demand for petroleum products during the winter,” they said.

Despite concerns over rice and fuel, the team said inflation likely would taper off by the end of 2018 and would be under control by next year.

Meanwhile, opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Duterte needed to focus on the economy and not waste time on other issues.

“The president should stop looking for phantom plots against him when the real problem is right in front of him. If there is anything that is destabilized right now, it is the economy,” Hontiveros said.


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