Central Visayas inflation eases to 1.5% in May
Carlo Lorenciana (The Freeman) - June 6, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Consumer price increases in Central Visayas were slower last month despite the uptick in inflation nationwide in May.

Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority yesterday showed Central Visayas was among the regions to see slower inflation in May at 1.5 percent.

The lowest inflation during the month was observed in Region 7 and Zamboanga Peninsula, PSA said in its report.

This was way lower than the national headline inflation of 3.2 percent, up from 3 percent in April.

The May inflation broke the six consecutive months of slowdown in consumer price growth.

However, the rate was still within the government’s 2.8-3.6 percent projection for the month.

May inflation brought the average rate in the first five months of the year to 3.6%, within the central bank’s 2-4 percent target for the year.

The 3.4-percent increase in food and non-alcoholic beverages and the 3.3-percent uptick in water, electricity, gas and other fuels contributed to the faster rate in May

Compared with their previous annual rates, the following food groups exhibited higher annual markups last month: other cereals, flours, cereal preparation, bread, pasta and other bakery products, 3.7 percent; fish, 4.2 percent; fruits, 4.6 percent; vegetables, 12.5 percent; and unclassified food products, 6.8 percent.

Philippine Retailers Association-Cebu president Robert Go had said he was still anticipating for the slowing inflation’s impact on consumption growth.

He cited the incomes of consumers have also been hardly catching up with the rising cost of living in general.

However, he noted a slower inflation is generally good for the economy, which should eventually drive spending especially as consumer sentiment improves.

Meanwhile, the slowing inflation is giving the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas room to roll back the 175-basis point increase in the overnight borrowing rate to 4.75 percent to rein in last year’s inflation crisis.

Last month, the central bank cut the benchmark interest rate by 25 points.

The central bank, will meet on June 20 to review monetary policy.

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