Peso purchasing power declines even as economy booms

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2017 10:15 AM

MANILA – The purchasing power of the peso has declined steadily, as consumer prices rise in one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.

As of December 2016, the purchasing power or real value of the peso was at P0.68. It held at P0.69 from July to November and at P0.70 from January to May.

Inflation, or the rate of increase in consumer prices, accelerated to 2.6 percent in December from 1.3 percent at the start of 2016, BSP data showed.

Jeepney driver Rolly Lozorata said his daily earnings of P300 to P400 was enough for a kilo of rice, when before, he could buy up to two kilos.

“Sabon na lang po, shampoo hindi na kami nakakabili,” Lozorata told ABS-CBN News as he waited for passengers at a busy Manila street.

(We make do with soap. We can’t afford shampoo.)

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said there should be “quality jobs” to help the poor cope with rising prices.

“Quality jobs, meaning full time and also better pay. To get a better paying job, the worker must be productive,” he told reporters.

Gross domestic product grew 6.6 percent in the last three months of 2016, bringing average growth for the full year at 6.8 percent, among the fastest in Asia.

President Rodrigo Duterte aims to lift 1.5 million people from poverty in every year of his term by sustaining annual economic growth of at least 7 percent, according to his economic managers. – with reports from Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News