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Inflation sped up to 6.9% in September 2022 —PSA

Inflation — the rate of increase in consumer goods and services prices — accelerated in September on the back of increases in food and utilities costs, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday.

Inflation quickened to 6.9% last month from 6.3% in August, PSA chief and National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said at a press conference.

The PSA chief said the last time that a 6.9% inflation was recorded was in September and October of 2018 “at the height of rice price hike.”

Mapa also said the September inflation is nearing the peak of 7.2% seen in February 2009.

September’s inflation was also faster than the 4.2% rate recorded in September 2021.

Last month’s inflation print was also within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast range of 6.6% to 7.4%.

The year-to-date average inflation stood at 5.1%, within the Marcos administration’s assumption of 4.5% to 5.5% for the entire 2022.

“Ang dahilan ng mas mataas na antas ng inflation nitong Setyembre 2022 ay ang mas mabilis na pagtaas ng presyo ng Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Ito ay may 7.4% inflation at 70.6% share sa pagtaas ng pangkalahatang inflation sa bansa,” Mapa said.

(The cause of the higher inflation rate in September 2022 was the fast increase in the prices of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. This has a 7.4% inflation and 70.6% share in the increase in the overall inflation in the country.)

Major contributors in the higher inflation of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages index were vegetables, tubers, cooking bananas, etc. with 3.5% inflation in September from -2.7% in August.

Also contributing to the rise of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages index were fish and other seafood and sugar, confectionery, and desserts with respective inflation prints of 9.1% (from 7.2%) and 30.2% (from 26%).

The second commodity group that contributed to the acceleration of September inflation was the Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels with 7.3% inflation from 6.8% in August and 18.2% share in the overall uptrend.

In particular, Mapa said inflation for electricity quickened to 21.4% from 19.1%, rents grew to 3.5% from 3.1%, and wood fuel rose to 3.9% from 2.7%.

The third commodity group that showed higher inflation in September was the Restaurants and Accommodation Services index with 4.6% print from August’s 4.2% and 6.5% share to the overall increase in last month’s inflation. 

Higher increments were also seen in the indices of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco at 9.8%; Clothing and Footwear at 2.9%; Furnishing, Household Equipment, and Routine Household Maintenance at 3.5%; Information and Communication at 0.5%; Recreation, Sport, and Culture at 2.7%; and Personal Care and Miscellaneous Goods and Services at 3.4%.

Meanwhile, meat inflation has slowed from 12.8% in September last year to 9% in September 2022.

Trend of rising inflation

In a separate statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the trend of rising inflation is observed in other countries as well, given the same experience of subdued demand or a low base the past year, because of COVID, and the external pressures this year from commodity prices, logistics bottlenecks, weather shocks, and wide swings in the exchange rate against the US dollar.

“The government’s priority is to make sure that there is sufficient and affordable food supply for every Filipino family,” said NEDA chief and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

“Today’s inflation is far more complex than what we have seen in recent decades. The government and its stakeholders need to collaborate for shared solutions. In the near-term, ensuring sufficient food supply, while assisting the most vulnerable sectors will help us hurdle the current challenges,” said Balisacan.

The NEDA said that to ease the burden of agriculture amid the elevated fuel costs, the government continues to provide discounts worth P3,000 to each eligible farmer to alleviate the effects of high fuel prices.

PSA data showed that inflation of diesel prices grew to 74.2% from 70.9% in August, while gasoline saw a slight deceleration to 27.7% from 31.2%.

As of September 26, 2022, a total of 148,183 accounts for targeted beneficiaries nationwide were created, according to the NEDA.

Of these, 136,988 have been loaded with fuel discounts and 101,743 cards have been issued to corn farmers and fisherfolk, it said.

In addition, more than 1.5 million eligible rice farmers are entitled to receive P5,000 cash aid to boost their productivity and help cope with the surging prices of fuel and agricultural inputs, the state planning agency said.

Inflation in Metro Manila, outside NCR

Following the national trend, inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) climbed 6.5% in September from 5.7% in August.

Mapa said the acceleration of inflation in Metro Manila was brought by the higher annual hike in the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages index at 8.5%, from 6.2% in August.

Also contributing to the uptrend in the inflation in NCR were the higher increases in the indices of Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels at 5.3%; Recreation, Sport, and Culture at 1.5%; and Restaurants and Accommodation Services at 5.9%.

In areas outside NCR (AONCR), inflation also tracked the national trend as it clocked in at 7% from 6.5% in the prior month due to the higher increases in the indices of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages at 7.2% as well as Housing Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels at 8% and Restaurants and Accommodation Services at 4.2%.

All regions in AONCR, except Eastern Visayas, posted higher inflation rates in September.

Zamboanga Peninsula and(Davao Region had the highest inflation rate of 9.6%, while Cagayan Valley and CALABARZON had the lowest inflation rate at 5.9%.

Inflation for bottom 30%

Inflation felt by the bottom 30% income households grew to 6.7% from 5.9% in August, the highest recorded inflation for the income group since November 2018.

The uptrend in the inflation was for the income group was mainly due to the higher increase in the index for Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages at 6.5%; Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels at 7.9%; and Restaurants and Miscellaneous Goods and Services at 5.2%. —KBK/RSJ, GMA News