MANILA—Slower price increases of food, electricity, and petroleum brought inflation down to 2.6 percent in April 2013, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). 

“The average inflation rate for the first four months of 2013 settled at the low-end of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC)’s inflation target of 3.0 to 5.0 percent for 2013,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan. 

Headline inflation decelerated anew in April 2013 after posting at 3.2 percent in the previous month and at 3.0 percent a year ago. 

“Food inflation eased to 2.1 percent in April 2013 from 2.8 percent in the previous month as most food commodity items posted slower annual price increments relative to the previous month, owing to better conditions in the supply of food products,” the Cabinet official said. 

These food items include fish (2.1% vs. 4.9% in March 2013); rice (1.4% vs. 1.6%); corn (5.3% vs. 5.7%); and milk, cheese and eggs (2.3% vs. 2.8%). Also, the price index of non-alcoholic beverages moderated from 3.6 percent in the previous month to 2.8 percent in April 2013. 

As for non-food items, price indices of electricity, gas and other fuels (-1.5% from -0.8%) and transportation related commodities (-0.7% from 0.5%) also declined in April 2013. 

“The reduction in prices of these commodities can be attributed to lower prices of domestic petroleum products during the period,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General. 

The recorded price decline of unleaded gasoline (-8.2%), kerosene (-9.9%), diesel (-11.2%) and household Liquefied Petroleum Gas or LPG (-11.6%) April 2013 partly reflected the reduced price of Dubai crude (-8.3%) in the international market. 

“The international crude oil prices declined after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced its growth forecast for world oil consumption in 2013 by 0.9 percent,” he said. 

Furthermore, electricity prices also dropped as the Manila Electric Company or MERALCO reported another reduction in generation charges in April 2013, amounting to a year-on-year decline of 4.9 percent (-PhP0.27/kWh) due to a still-depressed cost of supplies. 

Meanwhile, headline inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) eased to 1.7 percent in April 2013, lower by 20 basis points (bps) compared to 1.9 percent in March 2013 and 2.5 percent in April 2012. Also, the inflation rate in areas outside NCR fell to 2.8 percent in April 2013, equivalent to an 80 bps decline from previous month’s 3.6 percent.