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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

May inflation ticked up to 3.9%

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Inflation rate ticked up to 3.9 percent in May 2024 from 3.8 percent in April 2024, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Wednesday.

“This brings the national average inflation from January to May 2024 to 3.5 percent. In May 2023, inflation rate was higher at 6.1 percent,” the PSA said.

It said the uptick was influenced by the higher year-on-year increase in the index of the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels at 0.9 percent during the month from 0.4 percent in April 2024. The faster annual growth of the transport index at 3.5 percent in May 2024 from 2.6 percent in April 2024 also contributed to the uptrend of the overall inflation.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government is continuously stepping up efforts against persistent inflation drivers following the slight rise in headline inflation.

“The government will continue to implement lasting policy reforms to ensure we address the drivers of food and non-food inflation sustainably. We want to maintain a macroeconomic environment conducive to investment and high-quality job creation—an environment that would allow us to hit the Marcos Administration’s development targets by 2028,” said NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

Data show that while food inflation decelerated, it remained elevated at 6.1 percent in May from 6.3 percent in April.

The slowdown of food inflation for the month was primarily due to the slower increase in the prices of vegetables, tubers, plantains and cooking bananas to 2.7 percent in May from 4.3 percent in April.

Rice inflation decreased slightly to 23.0 percent for the month from 23.9 percent in April. The May inflation report recorded a zero percent inflation rate for fish and other seafood from 0.4 percent the previous year.

“To help manage food inflation, promote policy stability and investment planning, and enhance food security, the NEDA Board has agreed to reduce the rice duty rate to 15 percent from 35 percent for both in-quota and out-quota imports until 2028,” said Balisacan.

Balisacan said the NEDA Board approved the extension until 2028 of the reduced tariff rates on corn, pork, and mechanically deboned meat under Executive Order No. 50, s. 2023.

“The NEDA Board approved the new Comprehensive Tariff Program for 2024-2028, a strategic move to ensure access and affordability to essential commodities while balancing the interests of consumers, local producers, and the economy. At the same time, we recognize the need to help our farmers by modernizing our agricultural sector,” he said.

Balisacan said one of the Marcos administration’s priorities is to raise productivity so that the country can sustainably reduce food prices and shield our consumers and economy from the price volatility of food commodities in the global market. 

“On the part of the Executive, we will continue to find supply-side solutions to help manage the price increases of other commodities and keep inflation within the target range in the months to come,” he said.

He said to mitigate the impact of elevated food prices on the poor and vulnerable sector, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and relevant agencies are set to implement the Food Stamp Program nationwide in July fully. The program expects to cover one million households by 2027 from the initial 300,000 families in 10 regions.

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