May 7, 2019

The government continues to rein in the overall price increases in the country with headline inflation rate easing to a 16-month low in April 2019, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that headline inflation further slowed to 3.0 percent in April from 3.3 percent in March.

This was slightly below the median market forecast of 3.1 percent, and well within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) forecast of 2.7 to 3.5 percent for the period.

“The recent inflation reading validates our efforts towards stabilizing inflation so that the country’s buoyant economic growth, along with key reforms, remains unimpeded,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

This also brought down the year-to-date inflation to 3.6 percent, which is within BSP’s inflation target for 2019.

Notably, food inflation slowed to 3.0 percent as price adjustments in key food items such as rice, meat, and fish further slackened.

Reflecting the trend of overall price increases, inflation in the National Capital Region slowed for the eighth consecutive month to 3.1 percent in April 2019.

“The continued low inflation of rice can be attributed to the stable rice supply in the country, with more imported rice expected to arrive in the country as the Rice Liberalization Act takes effect,” the Pernia noted.

The law, which lifts the quantitative import restriction on rice, is expected to keep rice prices low and more affordable especially for low-income households

However, Pernia said that the government should remain watchful of upside risks to inflation such as the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, possible increase in utility rates, and volatility in international oil prices.

“Given unstable global oil prices, the government should prioritize rolling out the second tranche of its social mitigating measures under the TRAIN law, such as the unconditional cash transfer and Pantawid Pasada, especially now that the 2019 national budget has already been signed into law,” he added.