The Philippines’ headline inflation rate in May remained at 4.5 percent for the third month in a row on the back of mixed movements in annual growth rates in commodity group indices, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
PSA data released on Friday showed that the latest percentage was the same as in March and April, but it was still higher than the 2.1 percent recorded last year.
It’s also within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) projected range of 4-4.8 percent, and the slowest since January this year, at 4.2 percent.
The year-to-date increase in consumer prices was 4.4 percent, still higher than the central bank’s projected range of 2-4 percent for 2021.
Annual growth rates in the indices of five commodity groupings accelerated, according to National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa in a briefing.
These were: Clothing and footwear (1.7 percent); housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (1.9 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (2.5 percent); health (3.2 percent); and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3.8 percent.)
Meanwhile, he noted that inflation slowed significantly in the food and non-alcoholic beverage indices, which fell to 4.6 percent, and in the alcoholic beverages and tobacco indices, which fell to 11.8 percent. Similarly, the transportation index’s double-digit annual gain fell to 16.5 percent for the month.
“The rest of the commodity groups remained at their previous month’s annual growth rates,” Mapa added.
Core inflation, which excludes some food and energy goods, rose to 3.3 percent in May, matching April’s data but exceeding the 2.9 percent in May 2020. It averaged 3.5 percent in the first five months of 2021.
In May, the rate of increase in consumer prices for the bottom 30 percent of income households dropped even more, falling to 4.5 percent from 4.9 percent in April.
Last year, inflation for the poorest people was 2.9 percent. May saw the slowest pace of growth since December, when it was 4.3 percent.
The new result is consistent with expectations that inflation will stay over the high end of the central bank’s target range during the quarter, according to Bangko Sentral Governor Benjamin Diokno.
BY MEYNARD DELA CERNA