The Department of Agriculture (DA) announced yesterday that 14 out of the 20 pig blood samples sent to the United Kingdom for testing returned positive for ASF.
Ernie Pen?aredondo
No inflationary pressure from ASF yet — NEDA
Mary Grace Padin, Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - September 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The confirmed presence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country is not yet expected to exert inflationary pressure until the end of the year, economic managers said yesterday.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) announced yesterday that 14 out of the 20 pig blood samples sent to the United Kingdom for testing returned positive for ASF. 

A separate test for virulence and determination of the strain has also been ordered.

Prior to the return of the results, the DA has been culling thousands of pigs in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan suspected of ASF to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, who heads the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said chicken supply could absorb some of the demand for pork leading up to the holiday season. 

“People are able to substitute chicken for pork,” he told reporters yesterday. “Inflation is not going to spike for sure.” 

He maintained that factoring in all inflationary risk for the remainder of the year, the headline inflation rate could be expected to average below 3.2 percent this year. 

“The target is 3.2 percent this year, so it will probably be below that,” said Pernia. 

The Department of Finance (DOF), on the other hand, expressed concern over the presence of ASF in the Philippines, but stressed the availability of other substitutes to pork may cushion risks to inflation.

 Asked whether the confirmed cases of ASF would have possible risks to inflation, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said “it’s a concern, but there are substitutes to pork such as poultry, beef and fish.”

The finance chief also gave assurance that concerned government agencies would undertake the necessary measures to address the issue.

“I am sure the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and the DA are on top of this,” he told reporters in a text message yesterday.

Growth in consumer prices decelerated to 1.7 percent in August, the lowest in almost three years, largely due to the continued slowdown in the price hikes of food, housing and utilities. 

This brings the year-to-date average to three percent, the mid-point of the government’s target range of two percent to four percent for the year. 

National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the headline rate could slow down further in the coming months, stabilizing at around two percent, taking into consideration possible shocks and the upcoming holiday season. 

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, for its part, sees inflation easing to 2.6 percent this year before accelerating to 2.9 percent in 2020 and 2021.

 

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER
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