MANILA—Cheaper prices of overall consumer goods in Metro Manila brought August 2013 headline inflation to its four-year low, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

This statement came after the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that headline inflation rate in August 2013 eased to 2.1 percent, from 2.5 percent in July 2013 and 3.8 percent in August 2012. Inflation rate is the percent increase in the prices of goods and services commonly purchased by households, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan stressed that the slower year-on-year increase of overall consumer prices resulted from reduction of prices in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the slower price adjustments in areas outside NCR.

“Headline inflation remains stable at an average of 2.8 percent from January to August 2013. This is below the low-end target of 3.0 to 5.0 percent set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee for the year,” he said.

Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General, noted that lower inflation was observed in food and petroleum products amid peso depreciation and weather disturbances during the period.

Non-food items also recorded slower price increases in August 2013 as a result of cheaper electricity, gas and other fuels, and lower inflation in operation of personal transport equipment (2.9% from 5.6%) and transport services (0.3% from 0.4%).

“This reflects the lower generation charge of Manila Electric Co., which is now able to source power strategically from suppliers with lower cost, and the decline of international crude price during the period,” Balisacan concluded.

As to the price of food items, the Cabinet official added, “Despite the adverse effects of typhoon Labuyo and tropical storm Maring, inflation rate of most food items declined on an annual basis. Metro Manila, prices of meat and several vegetable items were even lower than in the previous year.”

Average price of vegetables nationwide were cheaper by 2.6 percent compared to a year ago, while slower price hikes were recorded for meat, fish, fruits and other food products and beverages.

Balisacan said that in Metro Manila, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported annual reductions in the prices of fully dressed chicken by 4.9 percent, and several vegetable items like ampalaya by 39.2 percent, sitao by 34.3 percent, cabbage by 60.8 percent, carrots by 49.1 percent, baguio beans by 31.5 percent, white potato by 17.7 percent, eggplant by 31.6 percent, native pechay by 48.4 percent, and calamansi by 10.7 percent.

Meanwhile, low deliveries of rice in Metro Manila markets due to seasonal disruptions brought the country’s general rice price index to a higher rate at 3.9 percent in August 2013, from 2.4 percent in the previous month.

“The early harvest of rice in Visayas and Mindanao regions will help boost the rice stocks in the country in the next months, stabilizing the prices of rice for the succeeding period,” the Cabinet official said.

— END —