The slight increase in consumer prices in November should not be a cause for concern as the latest inflation figure still settled within the forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Malacañang said Friday.
Headline inflation inched up slightly to 1.3 percent in November after a five-month slowdown in the price increases of basic commodities.
The latest inflation rate picked up from the 42-month low of 0.7 percent in October, but was still within the BSP’s forecast of 2 percent to 4 percent for the month and lower than the 6 percent registered in November 2018.
“The increase in the inflation rate in November 2019 to 1.3 percent from October 2019’s 0.8 percent should not be a cause for alarm,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“Soaring inflation, which peaked at 6.7 percent last year, has been slain through the efforts of responsible agencies and is now a thing of the past.”
Panelo acknowledged that the faster headline inflation in November was driven by the highest annual increase registered in alcoholic beverages and the tobacco index (17.6 percent).
The Philippine Statistics Authority said the higher annual increases in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.2 percent), furnishing, household equipment and routine house maintenance (2.8 percent), health (3.1 percent) and communication (0.3 percent) also contributed to the higher inflation in November.
“Our economists attribute the same to excise taxes,” Panelo said.
But he said for the first 11 months of this year, the inflation rate averaged at 2.5 percent, which the Trade department said remained a “very tame inflation rate” and “much lower than the full-year range of 2 to 4 percent we are expecting.”
Panelo also echoed the Finance department’s stance that the country’s stable macroeconomic fundamentals and streamlined food supply would enable the economy to “attain rapid growth and sustain low inflation.”
He said that, through appropriate fiscal and monetary, the country would be able to “ride safely through the ongoing trade war [between the United States and China] and avoid the shocks that slowed down many emerging economies.”
He assured the public that the country’s economic managers would work harder to keep inflation low.