Inflation cools again in November, inching closer to target

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
Inflation cools again in November, inching closer to target
Residents flock to the Marikina Public Market to buy fresh produce on Aug. 7, 2021. Under IATF guidelines, only authorized persons outside of residence will be allowed to go out, including one member per family to buy food and other essential goods.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Consumer price growth continued to decelerate for the third straight month in November, giving Filipinos a reprieve from elevated inflation that’s making surviving the economic fallout from the pandemic more challenging.

Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, slowed down to 4.2% year-on-year last month from 4.6% in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported Tuesday.

Year-to-date, inflation averaged 4.5%, still above the government’s 2-4% annual target.

Albeit still beyond the target range that the state considers manageable, the slower inflation last month is a welcome news for Filipinos who are struggling to make ends meet as the pandemic drags on. While the reprieve only came a few months before the year ends, Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING Bank in Manila, believes the softer price uptick was “better late than never”.

“Decelerating food inflation due to relatively better weather and falling oil prices (affecting transport costs) are expected to keep the headline inflation number below 4% for only the first time this year” Mapa, who had forecast November inflation to settle “below 4%”, said in an e-mail exchange ahead of the data release.

“Inflation, barring any additional supply side disruptions, will likely glide back within the 2-4% target band for next year,” he added. “Slowing inflation affords the central bank a little more space to retain its accommodative policy as the economy remains on the path to recovery.”

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