March inflation climbs to 3.7% due to soaring food, transport costs

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
March inflation climbs to 3.7% due to soaring food, transport costs
This photo taken on January 30, 2024 shows people walking past fruit vendors at a roadside market in Manila.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The country's inflation accelerated to 3.7%, driven by increased food and transportation costs, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority's report on Friday.

During a press briefing on Friday, National Statistician and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) chief Claire Dennis Mapa said that inflation ballooned to 3.7% in March 2024, up from 3.4% in February 2024.

March's inflation falls within the forecast range of 3.4% to 4.2% by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Mapa attributed the increased inflation to a faster rise in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which climbed to 5.6% from the previous month's 4.6%.

The deceleration in the price drop of vegetables, tubers, cooking bananas and others, marked by a -2.5% inflation rate, significantly contributed to the uptick of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The prices of meat, cereals and cereal products, especially rice, also contributed to the acceleration of inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Transportation costs also contributed to the upward trend, with inflation reaching 2.1%, up from 1.2% in February.

Mapa also attributed the rapid increase in transportation costs' inflation rates to the 3.6% inflation in passenger transport and the rise in oil prices.

The inflation rate for gasoline stood at 0.8%, while diesel recorded -0.1%, both factors contributing to the upward trend in transportation costs' inflation.

Core inflation, however, slowed to 3.4% in March 2024, marking a decrease from the previous month's 3.6% and significantly lower than March 2023's 8.0%.

Meanwhile, food prices surged this month, reaching 5.7%, up from February's 4.8%. This marks the highest recorded food inflation since November 2023, which stood at 5.8%.

Rice inflation stays high at 24.4%, slightly up from last month's 23.7%. 

According to Mapa, the country's rice inflation is expected to rise until July due to the "base effect."

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