Inflation steady at 3 percent in February

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2022 09:06 AM | Updated as of Mar 04 2022 10:58 AM

Fuel nozzles hang at a gasoline station in Manila on February 26, 2022. Gasoline prices which already increased for 8 straight weeks recently are expected to rise further amid the escalating conflict between Ukraine and Russia. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Fuel nozzles hang at a gasoline station in Manila on February 26, 2022. Gasoline prices which already increased for 8 straight weeks recently are expected to rise further amid the escalating conflict between Ukraine and Russia. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Inflation in February remained unchanged at 3 percent despite the Ukraine crisis, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Friday.

The consumer price index rose 3 percent, within the government's 2 to 4 percent target range. 

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said inflation could remain within target as long as the price of Dubai crude does not rise above $95 per barrel.

Inflation could remain within target for the first half of 2022 before slightly overshooting the 4 percent band in the second half, he said.

"Inflation is seen to accelerate over the near term due to higher oil prices as well as the impact of positive base effects," Diokno said in a statement following the inflation data release. 

"The recent increases in global crude oil prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have raised global and domestic macroeconomic uncertainty over the near term," he added.

Diokno said the BSP would continue monitoring emerging risks for inflation and would remain vigilant against possible second-round effects and supply-side pressures.

Analysts have agreed that inflation could rise in the near term to reflect the impact of the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. 

PNB Vice President and Head of Research Alvin Arogo said they would revise their initial annual inflation forecast of 3.4 percent to near 4 percent due to the ongoing crisis.

"Our forecast as a baseline will be revised close to 4 percent but it doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of an inflation above 4 percent,” he added.

Russia is among the world’s largest oil producers while both Russia and Ukraine are top exporters of wheat which is milled into flour.

GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES

Although food inflation decelerated for the month due to measures placed to ensure sufficient supply, the inflation for electricity, gas and other fuels for households rose 12.8 percent while private transport inflation increased to 29.8 percent, data showed. 

The government will continue its efforts to increase food supply by improving farmers' productivity and importing, if necessary, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said. 

The government is also providing subsidies to the public transport sector which is hit by the rising crude oil prices.

“Prices of commodities, such as oil, wheat, and corn, are going up as demand outpaces supply. That is why we need to proactively manage the impact on the people through these two measures,” Chua said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved a P3 billion subsidy and discount for drivers, farmers, and fisherfolk to mitigate the impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Chua said the shift to Alert Level 1 would help Filipinos earn more income as inflation pressures remain on the upside due to global political tensions.

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