The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday that inflation in January clocked in at 4.4 percent, slower compared with 5.1 percent in December but faster than the 3.4 percent in the same month last year.
A Reuters poll of economists predicted inflation for the month at 4.5 percent.
The slowdown of inflation last month was mainly driven by the softer increments in food and non-alcoholic beverages at 5.6 percent as well as transport at 2.4 percent.
The January inflation is the third straight month that the rate rose at a much slower pace and the first time it went below the 5.0 percent level since May last year.
However, the latest inflation figure is still above the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) target of around 2.0 percent to 4.0 percent.
The BSP along the National Economic and Development Authority as well as the Department of Finance expect inflation to return to its target range this year.
In 2018, the country’s inflation averaged 5.2 percent, up from 2.9 percent in the previous year.
The drop in the country’s inflation last month was welcomed by Malacanang which vowed to ensure such market downtrend will be felt by the people.
“The Palace is pleased with the good news that for the third straight month, inflation continues to drop, registering at 4.4% in January 2019 based on the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which was released today,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“With inflation further tapering down to a 10-month low of 4.4%, this Administration will oversee and ensure that its consequent effects at the market would be felt by the ordinary consumer,” he said.
Panelo said the government would also remain on guard in monitoring prices of basic goods and commodities following the latest slowdown of inflation.
He added that they aim to mitigate poverty and hunger “driven by the President’s economic goal to lay down and build the foundation to a comfortable life for the present and future generations.”
Panelo recognized that the nation has risen to the challenge posed by the high consumer prices last year.
“Soaring prices caused by uncontrollable factors tested our will as a nation. Not disheartened nor cowed, we rose to the challenge as a people,” he said.
“With the President’s strong and decisive action, we remained focused and steadfast as we addressed the conditions that contributed significantly to inflation,” he added. (Chino Leyco and Genalyn Kabiling)