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Inflation cools down further to 4.1% in November 2023

The Philippines’ inflation rate decelerated further to its slowest in 20 months in November amid the slowdown in the increase in food and transport costs, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday.

At a press briefing, National Statistician and PSA chief Claire Dennis Mapa said inflation — which measures the rate of increase in the prices of consumer goods and services — clocked in at 4.1% last month, slower than the 4.9% rate recorded in October and the 8% rate in November 2022.

This is the second straight month of deceleration in the headline inflation following two straight months of acceleration. 

Last month’s rate is the slowest on record since March 2022, when inflation stood at 4%.

It also fell within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) forecast range of 4% to 4.8%, consistent with the central bank’s expectations “that inflation will likely moderate over the near term due to easing supply-side price pressures and negative base effects.”

November’s inflation print brought the year-to-date figure to stand at 6.2%, still above the government’s ceiling of 2% to 4%.

In a separate statement, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that “the further drop in the inflation rate can be attributed to the timely implementation of strategies to stabilize food supply amid the anticipated domestic and external headwinds in the coming months.”

“Ang pangunahing dahilan ng mas mababang antas ng inflation nitong Nobyembre 2023 kaysa noong Oktubre 2023 ay ang mas mabagal na pagtaas ng presyo ng Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages,” Mapa said.

(The main reason for the slower inflation rate in November 2023 versus October 2023 was the slower increase in the prices of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.)

In particular, the heavily-weighted Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages index saw an inflation rate of 5.7% in November from 7% in October, and a share of 59.5% to the overall decline in inflation last month.

The main contributor to the slowdown in the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages index was the decline in the prices of vegetables, tubers, and cooking bananas, etc. with an inflation rate of -2% from 11.9% in October.

Also contributing to the decline were the slower increase in fish and other seafood at 4.9% from 5.6% and sugar and desserts at 1.5% from 4.9%.

Rice, egg prices up faster

While food inflation decelerated to 5.8% in November from 7.1% in October, rice inflation saw a year-on-year increment to 15.8% from 13.2% while eggs, milk, and other dairy products saw an increase of 7.6% from 7.5%.

Mapa said rice’s weight to the food basket was at 8.9% while eggs were at 1.16%.

Nonetheless, the PSA chief said the lower inflation prints in meat, fruits, flour and bread products, ready-made foods on top of the decrease in inflation for vegetables contributed to the overall decline in food inflation despite the higher rice and egg prices.

Non-food inflation

According to NEDA, non-food inflation eased further to 2.9% in November from 3.4% in the prior month, resulting from deflation in transportation at -0.8% from 1.0% and slower inflation in restaurant and accommodation services at 5.6% from 6.3%.

Moreover, annual decreases were noted in the indices of the following commodity groups during the month:

  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 9% from 9.3%
  • Clothing and footwear, 4.3% from 4.8%
  • Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, 2.5% from 2.6%
  • Furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance, 4.7% from 5.3%
  • Health, 3.8% from 4.0%
  • Information and communication, 0.6% from 0.8%
  • Recreation, sport and culture, 4.9% from 5.0%
  • Education services, 3.5% from 3.8%
  • Personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services, 4.8% from 5.3%

“With the right interventions in place, including the proper and timely deployment of trade policy, we are confident that we can effectively manage inflation and prevent unnecessary upticks in prices of goods and commodities to safeguard the purchasing power of Filipino families, especially those from the most vulnerable sectors,” said Balisacan.


The country’s chief economist said the government needs to continue monitoring the inflation situation in the face of continued price pressures coming from geopolitical tensions and extreme weather situations, further fueling uncertainty.

Balisacan said the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO) sub-committee on food inflation has proposed to maintain the lower tariff rates on rice, corn and swine meat to ensure sufficient supply and stable prices of key agricultural commodities.

The Toll Regulatory Board and the Department of Agriculture, along with other agencies and tollway concessionaires, are finalizing the details on exempting agriculture delivery trucks from toll increases to mitigate energy- and fuel-related inflationary pressures, according to the NEDA chief.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has also provided fuel subsidies to 166,598 public utility vehicles as of November 17.

“To protect the most vulnerable sectors from high food prices, the Department of Social Welfare and Development launched the Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program, which provides monetary assistance to low-income households and allow them to purchase selected food commodities from eligible merchants,” Balisacan said.

“Effective implementation of these programs is crucial to minimize the impact of high  prices on low-income households. The government is also implementing strategies and programs to improve local food production and supply and  boost the productivity of our farmers by investing in irrigation, flood control, supply chain logistics, and climate change adaptation,” he added.

Inflation in NCR, outside Metro Manila

Similar to the national trend, inflation in the country’s capital region also slowed down to 4.2% in November from 4.9% in October due to slower increments in food and transport prices.

Inflation outside Metro Manila, likewise, also decelerated to 4.1% from 4.9% month-on-month amid slower increase in food and transport costs.

All regions outside NCR recorded slower inflation rates during the month relative to their respective October 2023 annual rates, except for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). 

Among the regions, Region II (Cagayan Valley) still recorded the lowest inflation rate for the second consecutive month at 2.4%, while BARMM recorded the highest inflation at 5.9% during the month. 

Inflation felt by the bottom 30% income households also eased to 4.9% from 5.3% in October as the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages index decelerated to 7.2% from 7.6% while Transport eased to 0.9% from 2.3%.

Meanwhile, the BSP said the balance of risks to the inflation outlook still leans significantly towards the upside. Key upside risks are associated with the potential impact of higher transport charges, electricity rates, and international oil prices, as well as higher-than-expected minimum wage adjustments in areas outside the National Capital Region. 

“Meanwhile, the impact of a weaker-than-expected global recovery as well as government measures to mitigate the effects of El Niño weather conditions could reduce the central forecast,” the central bank said.

“Looking ahead, the Monetary Board deems it necessary to keep monetary policy settings sufficiently tight until a sustained downtrend in inflation becomes evident. The BSP will continue to monitor inflation expectations and second-round effects and take appropriate action as needed to bring inflation back to the target, in keeping with the BSP’s price stability mandate,” according to the central bank.  —KBK, GMA Integrated News