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Inflation further eases to 4.3% in October 2014

C&C VIEWS - Ed Limtingco - The Freeman

According to the Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis, Inc. latest NewsBriefs, inflation further eases to 4.3percent in October 2014. Sustaining the slowdown seen since September 2014, prices continued to pace itself slowly at 4.3percent in October 2014 as the ample supply of domestic goods and the improved ports situation in Manila tempered upward price pressures.

This fresh data brought the year-to-date inflation comfortably within the government’s target range of 3-5percent for 2014. The heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages decelerated to 7percent from 7.4percent in September. Most notably, the food index alone posted a 7.2percent rise from 7.8percent in the previous month. Core inflation, which nets food and energy items for their volatility, registered a lower uptick of 3.2percent from 3.4percent in September.

National Economic Development Authority’s Director-General Arsenio Balisacan, however, noted the offsetting impact of the higher electricity charges for the period as a result of more costly generation charges. The electricity, gas and other fuels index jumped to 3.2percent from 2.4percent in the past. He assured that the government will remain alert on any inflation risks, such as a possible El Nino episode in the future, or for further disruptions in the domestic supply chain.

Likewise per same published report, monetary policies implemented in the past months appear to be working their way as inflation continued to exhibit a further slowdown from 4.4percent in September 2014 to 4.3% in October 2014. Food prices went down due to ample supply in the market but was slightly offset by higher electricity charges. The lifting of the truck ban ordinance last September has improved the flow of goods and services.

Furthermore, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas  scored the country’s financial system as solid for the first half of 2014 for weathering global market uncertainties. The banking industry’s asset growth surged by 19.3percent, while net profit notched P63.7 billion. As of June 2014, there exists 664 operating banks, 9,456 bank branches, 14,843 ATMS, 328 microfinance banking offices, and 245 banks offering e-banking services in the Philippines.

Also, as announced by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr., the country’s gross international reserves stood at $79.3 billion as of the end of October 2014. Despite being $0.3 billion shorter than the level in the previous month, the country’s GIR is deemed adequate to cover nearly 11 months’ worth of imports. Net international reserves, which nets the country’s short-term debts from the GIR, is at $79.3 billion.

On the other hand, the Bureau of Treasury reported that as of September 2014 the government’s outstanding debt reached P5.723 trillion, 2percent more than the P5.609 trillion a year earlier while the Department of Finance, however, revealed that debt as a percentage of GDP improved to 37.3percent in the first half of 2014, notably lower than the 44.3percent when the Aquino administration took over in 2010 according to the researchers of IDEA.

elimtingco@yahoo.com.

AQUINO AS OF JUNE BANGKO SENTRAL BUREAU OF TREASURY DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMETRIC ANALYSIS DIRECTOR-GENERAL ARSENIO BALISACAN EL NINO NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PILIPINAS GOVERNOR AMANDO M
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