MANILA – Slower increases in the prices of food, electricity, and petroleum eased inflation to 4.4 percent in September 2014, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“Moderate food inflation, lower electricity charges and the roll-back in global and local petroleum prices contributed to the slower overall inflation in this period,” said NEDA Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Deputy Director-General Emmanuel F. Esguerra.

Food inflation slid to 7.4 percent in September 2014 from 8.3 percent in the previous month. Lower price increases in rice (10.7% from 13.2%), corn (8.3% from 9.1%) and vegetables (9.8% from 15.0%) backed this slowdown.

The Dubai crude oil’s international price also declined, which pulled down local petroleum prices in September 2014. The generation charge of MERALCO rose by only 0.4 percent in September 2014.  “This was much lower when compared to the almost 12 percent annual increase reported in the previous month. Generation and transmission charges declined, with the improved availability of generation plants in operation and with less forced outages,” the NEDA official said.

Meanwhile, inflation rate also stood at 4.4 percent year-to-date, which is still within the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC)’s inflation target of 3.0 to 5.0 percent for 2014.

“This slowdown appears to be geographically broad-based, as sluggish annual growths in inflation were recorded in the National Captal Region (NCR) and in areas outside of NCR in September 2014,” said Esguerra.

NCR’s inflation rate went down to 3.5 percent in September 2014 from 4.4 percent in August 2014. Also, 13 out of the 16 regions outside of NCR recorded slower year-on-year price increases. This resulted in a lower overall inflation of 4.7 percent for these regions in September 2014, from the 5.0 percent in the previous month.

Overall, NEDA still expects that the country’s inflation rate for full-year 2014 will still be within the DBCC full year target of 3.0 to 5.0 percent.

“Notwithstanding upward pressures on prices, the general market inflation expectations remain well-anchored, as policies remain supportive of manageable inflation rate” said Esguerra.

DDG Esguerra is OIC of NEDA while Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan is on an official trip abroad from October 7-14, 2014.