Nationwide wholesale prices ease in December as oil prices fall
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Wholesale prices at the national level sustained its slowdown in December 2018, reflecting slower growth in fuel prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.

The performance of the index, however, showed that wholesale food prices, either annually or month-on-month, continued to register slight upticks especially in Luzon and Visayas.

Annual growth in the General Wholesale Price Index (GWPI) slowed down in December 2018 to 4.5 percent from 5.7 percent in November and 8.5 percent in October. Growth in the index peaked at 9.6 percent in September 2018.

Slowdowns were seen in the indices of five out of the eight commodity groups: crude materials, beverages and tobacco, mineral fuels, chemicals, and miscellaneous manufactured articles.

Increases, meanwhile, were seen in the indices of food, manufactured goods, as well as machinery and transport equipment.

The index, which currently uses 1998 base period, covers locally-produced commodities and imported goods for resale. The current basket consists of 437 commodities in Luzon, 302 commodities in Visayas and 327 commodities in Mindanao.

Out of the eight commodity groups, the ones with the heaviest weights in the index are the following: food; beverages and tobacco; crude materials; and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials.

The index is used as a guide for economic analysis and policy formulation as well as price adjustments on business contracts and projects. It is also used as basis for forecasting business and economic conditions.

Month-on-month, still at the country level, the GWPI settled at a growth of 0.9 percent in December 2018 from 1.7 percent construction in November.

Declines were seen in the monthly indices of mineral fuels; chemicals; and miscellaneous manufactured articles in December 2018.

Small increments, meanwhile, were seen in the indices of food; machinery and transport equipment; beverage and tobacco; crude materials; and manufactured goods.

“Wholesale prices of petroleum move downward,” said PSA in the report, noting that price decreases in petroleum products such as crude petroleum oil, gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, bunker fuel oil, and LPG pushed down further the index of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials nationwide.

The index of chemicals, including animal and vegetable oils and fats, also fell nationwide as prices of selected basic industrial chemicals and coconut oil were lower in December 2018.

The month-on-month slight uptick in food prices was seen mostly in Luzon and Visayas as a slowdown was seen in Mindanao where supply of basic commodities were more stable.

This was brought about by higher prices of liveweight chicken, eggs, uncanned meat products, fish, unprocessed animal feeds, cocoa products, instant coffee and cooking oil in Luzon.

In Visayas, prices of pork, beef, butter, fish, fruits, vegetables, cocoa products and coffee beans went up in December.

On the other hand, the month-on-month growth in the food index in Mindanao slowed down because of decreases in the prices of liveweight hogs, unmilled corn, rice, flour, vegetables and sugar.

Month-on-month growth in beverage and tobacco index was seen mostly in Luzon as it slowed down in Mindanao and had zero growth in Visayas.

Contributing to higher prices of crude materials, meanwhile, were higher prices of copra, abaca fiber, gravel, and pebbles. Machinery prices were also pushed upward by lower prices of battery, convenient outlet, and selected electrical appliances.

Growth in the index of manufactured goods month-on-month was seen mainly in Luzon and Visayas because of higher prices of rubber tires, selected paper products, selected concrete products, steel and flat bars, G.I. pipe and lockset.

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