Metro Manila retail prices soar in March

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - May 3, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Retail prices of consumer goods in Metro Manila rose at a faster pace in March, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

The General Retail Price Index (GRPI) in the National Capital Region (NCR) in March grew by 1.8 percent, faster than the 1.4 percent rate in February.

This was also much faster than the growth of 1.1 percent in March 2020.

Retail prices in the capital remained high even as the national headline inflation rate eased to 4.5 percent in March.

The index of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials spiked by nine percent after successive periods of annual decreases since March 2020.

This as global crude oil prices have been rebounding from record lows reached last year due to rising demand as vaccines become widely available, restrictions are eased, and global recovery is sustained.

The higher cost for importing oil is one of the major supply-side factors that is driving the country’s inflation over the past months.

On the other hand, retail prices for food remained at 2.3 percent.

This can be traced to the temporary decrease in prices of pork and chicken as the government imposed the price cap during the period. More hogs were shipped to Metro Manila which contributed to the stable rate.

Other food commodities’ prices also went down as farms slowly recovered from the effects of the typhoons at the tail end of 2020.

Mark-ups were also higher in the indexes of chemicals, including animal and vegetable oils and fats, and machinery and transport equipment.

Declines, on the other hand, were observed in crude materials, inedible except fuels, and miscellaneous manufactured articles.

Prices of beverages and tobacco and manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials were stable during the period.

The GRPI is an indicator used to monitor the economic situation of the retail trade sector.

It is also used as a deflator of the national accounts especially in the retail trade sector and serves as a basis of forecasting business in the retail trade.

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