Inflation rate accelerates in January to 4.2%

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The rate of price increases in the Philippines accelerated for the fourth consecutive month in January to 4.2 percent primarily due to faster price upticks of some vegetables and meat products as well as fuel prices.

National statistician Claire Dennis Mapa, in a virtual briefing on Friday, said the latest inflation print is the highest after the 3.8 percent in February 2019.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel items, rose to 3.4 percent last January from 3.3 percent in the previous month, he said.

The main driver of upticks in the domestic inflation rate in the past four months is meat, he noted.

“Our assessment here, based on the computations is that if these groups, particularly (the price of) meat, fish, vegetable and fruits will rise further in the coming months there is a higher probability that we’ll be seeing this increase of inflation in the coming months,” he said.

The inflation rate in January last year is slower at 2.9 percent.

The government has set a 60-day price cap on pork and chicken prices in Metro Manila starting February 8.

Mapa declined to project the possible impact of this two-month price freeze on the domestic inflation rate, noting that they will gather information on price developments nationwide starting in the middle of this month.

Meanwhile, the January inflation print exceeded the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 3.3 to 4.1 percent projection band for the month.

Monetary authorities forecast possible breaching of the 2-4 percent inflation target, which is the same range until 2024, in the coming months but they currently project inflation to average at 3.2 percent this year.

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