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Inflation surges to 4.9% in April

Consumer prices in the Philippines continued to grow at a faster rate in April to mark the fastest in over three years, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Thursday revealed.

Inflation clocked in at 4.9% in the past month, up from 4.0% in March and 4.1% the same month last year. This is the fastest since December 2018, when the print was recorded at 5.2%.

The latest reading brings the year-to-date average to 3.7% so far, already higher than the full-year average of 3.9% recorded in 2021.

In a virtual briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said the main sources of inflation for the month include food and non-alcoholic beverages as prices climbed by 3.8%, contributing a 51.5% share to the uptrend.

This comes as prices of vegetables and tubers increased by 9.2%, meat and others by 4.2%, and fish and other seafood by 5.0%.

Meanwhile, transport prices jumped by 13.0%, faster than the 10.3% recorded in March. This contributed 27.8% to the overall uptrend.

Broken down, diesel prices surged by 83.7%, gasoline by 43.0%, and passenger transport by sea by 13.6%.

The latest data available from the Department of Energy show that year-to-date adjustments stand at a net increase of P15.45 per liter for gasoline, P27.35 per liter for diesel, and P21.55 per liter for kerosene.

Data from the same agency show that prices in Metro Manila range from P66.45 per liter (Pasig City) to P89.75 per liter (Muntinlupa City) for gasoline, and from P68.20 per liter (Quezon City) to P85.20 per liter (Pasay City) for diesel.

Broken down geographically, inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) stood at 4.4% in April, up from 3.4% in the previous month and the 2.4% recorded in the same month last year.

Inflation in areas outside NCR increased to 5.1% in the month, up from 4.1% in March and 4.5% the same month in 2021.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) earlier predicted that inflation, or the rate of increase in the prices of goods and services, is expected to settle within the range of 4.2 to 5.0% in April

“The inflation outturn is consistent with the BSP’s assessment that inflation will remain elevated over the near term due to the continued volatility in global oil and non-oil prices, reflecting largely the continued impact of the continued impact of the conflict in Ukraine on global commodities market,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a separate message to reporters.  

The BSP expects inflation to average 4.3% this year, reflecting the impact of higher global commodity prices. This is then expected to decelerate to the target band within the first quarter of 2023. 

Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said the Duterte administration's economic team is "closely monitoring" inflation. 

"We shall work double time to address the socioeconomic concerns of our people while taming high prices of goods and commodities," he said. —KBK/VBL, GMA News