Inflation slows to 2.5% in March
The headline consumer price index eased to 2.5 percent in March from 2.6 percent in February and 3.3 percent in March 2019.
The STAR/Michael Varcas/File
Inflation slows to 2.5% in March
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The nationwide inflation rate slowed down in March due mainly to lower demand for transportation, fuel as well as alcoholic beverages and tobacco, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.

The headline consumer price index eased to 2.5 percent in March from 2.6 percent in February and 3.3 percent in March 2019.

This brought the year-to-date average to 2.7 percent, well-within the government’s target range of two to four percent.

According to the statistics agency, the slowdown was primarily due to the 1.8 percent decline in the transport index in March, a reversal of the 1.8 percent growth in the previous month.

Price growths for petroleum and fuel for personal transport declined sharply by 12.3 percent, while sharp slowdowns were also seen for ship fare and domestic airfare.

Sharp declines were also seen in the growth of fuels such as kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as well as electricity.

Slower growth was also recorded in the index of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in line with lower demand.

The Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine that severely restricted the movement of people and goods to control the spread of the COVID-19 disease was implemented mid-March. 

Faster growth, however, was seen in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index – which contributed 45 percent to the headline rate –  as higher prices were seen for fish, oils and fats, fruits, vegetables, and other food products.

Slower growth, meanwhile, were seen for cereals, flour, bread, and pasta as well as meat.

This was mostly because of continued negative growths in the prices of rice, corn, and sugar in March.

Price of milk, cheese and eggs remained steady in March.

Other indexes that registered faster growth in March were furnishing and household equipment, communication, as well as recreation and culture.

Flat growth, meanwhile was seen in the indexes of clothing and footwear, education, health, as well as restaurant and miscellaneous services.

Consumer prices grew slower in the National Capital Region (NCR) at 1.7 percent in March from two percent in February and 3.2 percent in March 2019.

Likewise in areas outside NCR (AONCR), inflation was recorded at 2.7 percent in March compared with 2.8 percent in February and 3.4 percent in March.

IN AONCR, inflation rose the fastest in SOCCSKARGEN at 3.2 percent from 2.8 percent in February. This was driven by steep increases in the cost food and non-alcoholic beverages, healthcare, communication, restaurant, and miscellaneous services.

Outside Metro Manila, growth in inflation was slowest in Northern Mindanao at two percent in March from 2.3 percent in February.

Despite the deceleration in the national headline rate for March, prices of consumer goods for the poorest households accelerated in March from February.

Preliminary results show that inflation for the bottom 30 percent income households rose to 2.4 percent in March from 2.2. percent in February.

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