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Inflation surges to 8.0% in November

Prices of consumer goods in the Philippines continued to grow faster than targeted in November to hit the highest in 14 years, government data released Tuesday showed.

Inflation surged to 8.0% in November, the fastest since November 2009’s 9.1% and surpassing the 14-year high of 7.7% recorded in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.

The latest print is higher than the government's target range of 2% to 4%, and in line with the 7.4% to 8.2% projection range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), bringing the year-to-date average to 5.6%.

“The sustained acceleration of inflation in November 2022 was mainly due to the higher year-on-year growth rate in the index of food and non-alcoholic beverages,” the PSA reported.

This comes as prices of vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas, and pulses grew by 25.8%, the highest since January 1999’s 5.6%.

Sought for more details, PSA officer-in-charge Divina Gracia Del Prado attributed the higher prices on the typhoon that struck the country in late October.

Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) hit the country in October, with the Department of Agriculture (DA) estimating billions of pesos worth of damage and losses in the sector.

“I think this is a spillover effect from the typhoon” Del Prado said in a briefing.

Both the PSA and the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in October said they expect inflation to remain high in the remainder of the year, due to the weak peso and the damage caused by Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru).

Increases were also seen in the index of restaurants and accommodation services (6.5%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco (10.6%), clothing and footwear (3.6%), and furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance (4.5%).

Higher prices were likewise recorded in health (2.8%); information and communication (0.7%); recreation, sport, and culture (3.3%); education services (3.6%); and personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services (4.2%).

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) on Monday said it expects inflation to average 5.8% this year, which Del Prado said could be met as long as the print for December does not exceed 8.5%.

Core inflation — excluding food and energy items — stood at 6.5%, up from 5.9% in October and 2.4% in October 2021.

Inflation in Metro Manila was lower than the national average at 7.4%, which the PSA attributed to the slower annual increases in the housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels.

Lower annual increments were also reported in transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages, and alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

Outside the National Capital Region, inflation rose to 8.0% also due to the upticks in food and non-alcoholic beverages, and restaurants and accommodation.

For the bottom 30% income households, inflation was recorded at 7.7% in November, up from 7.3% the previous month and 4.2% in November 2021. This brought the year-to-date average to 5.1%.

The increase was attributed to the uptick in food and non-alcoholic beverages which grew by 8.2%, and restaurants and miscellaneous goods and services up 6.0%.

“The rest of the commodity groups also recorded higher year-on-year increments except for the housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels index which retained its previous month’s growth rate,” the PSA said. —KBK, GMA Integrated News