Food prices pull down January 2024 inflation to 2.8%

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Food prices pull down January 2024 inflation to 2.8%
People visit a market in Manila on October 5, 2023.
AFP / Jam Sta Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s inflation decelerated for the fourth consecutive month mainly due to a slowdown in the increases of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, National Statistician and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) chief Claire Dennis Mapa said that inflation dropped to 2.8% in January 2024, down from 3.9% in December of last year.

Mapa attributed the slower inflation to a reduced growth rate in food and non-alcoholic beverages, dropping to 3.5% from the previous month's 5.4%.

Core inflation also slowed to 3.8% in January 2024, lower than the previous month's 4.4% and notably lower than January 2023's 7.4%.

The faster decrease in the prices of vegetables, tubers, cooking bananas and others, with -20.8% inflation, significantly contributed to the decline in the inflation of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Other contributors to the inflation dip for food and non-alcoholic beverages are fish and other seafood with 1.2% inflation and meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals with -0.7% inflation.

Aside from food and non-alcoholic beverages, also contributing to the inflation downtrend are housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels which experienced a slower annual increase of 0.7% during the month, down from 1.5% in December 2023.

January's inflation falls within the forecast range of 2.8% to 3.6% by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. 

The country’s food inflation also slowed to 3.3%, down from 5.5% last month and 11.2% in January 2023. 

Food inflation’s deceleration is linked to the year-on-year decline in the index of vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses at 20.8%.

Fish and other seafood played a role in the downtrend, experiencing a decrease in inflation rate from 4.8% in December 2023 to 1.2% in January 2024.

Rice inflation, however, remains elevated at 22.6%, up from 19.6% last month. According to Mapa, this has been the highest since March 2009 with 22.9%.

The latest inflation print, according to the PSA, is the lowest inflation rate recorded since October 2020.

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