Inflation in January 2023 accelerated to a more than 14-year high of 8.7 percent from 8.1 percent in December and 3 percent a year ago, driven by faster increases in the prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and fuels, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday.
This latest reading also exceeded the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ projection of 7.5 percent to 8.3 percent for the month. Inflation represents the changes in the consumer price index.
“The January 2023 inflation was the highest since November 2008 at 9.1 percent,” national statistician and civil registrar general Dennis Mapa said in a briefing.
The housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels index had an inflation of 8.5 percent in January, up from 7 percent in December 2022. This was followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages with 10.7 percent, also higher than 10.2 percent in December.
The PSA said the restaurants and accommodation services index registered a faster inflation of 7.6 percent in January, compared to 7 percent in December.
Higher annual increases were also observed in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 10.9 percent; clothing and footwear, 4.4 percent; furnishings, household equipment, 5.2 percent; health, 3.3 percent; recreation, sport and culture, 4.2 percent; and, personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services, 5 percent.
The BSP reaffirmed its readiness to tweak its monetary policy stance if necessary to rein in inflation in the coming months. It said in an open letter to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Jan. 24 that any further monetary policy actions would always depend on pertinent economic data.
“The BSP will continue to adjust its monetary policy stance as necessary to keep further second-round effects at bay and to prevent inflation expectations from becoming disanchored,” it said.
“Our approach to monetary action will remain data-dependent and contingent on the inflation outlook, along with other available macroeconomic information at a given point in time,” the BSP said.