MANILA—Inflation remained unchanged for the third straight month in May, reflecting the stable prices of basic commodities, the state statistics bureau said Friday.
The consumer price index rose 4.5 percent, similar to the previous month, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a virtual briefing.
May's figure, which is within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) 4 to 4.8 percent projection, remains above the government target of 2 to 4 percent.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as transport, contributed the most to the inflation for the month, data showed.
Inflation could fall within target as early as July but there's still a lot of demand-side pressures since the country remains in recession, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa told ANC.
“There is a call for BSP to remain accommodative until the recovery is in full swing,” Mapa said.
Pork meat supply in the country was earlier hit by the African Swine Fever, which has drastically reduced the domestic hog population.
The government has since launched aid programs to help producers repopulate.
A price cap for pork meat was earlier imposed to mitigate the escalating retail prices. A proposal to reduce tariffs for imported meat was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte to augment supply.
"The implementation of the temporary reduction in tariffs on imported pork is seen to address supply constraints and ease price pressures on meat products going forward," the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in a statement.
"Thus the projected decline of inflation depends crucially on the timely arrival of pork to help stabilize domestic prices," it added.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said inflation could temporarily remain elevated, but it should start easing by the second half and eventually settle back within the government target band by 2022.
Higher inflation tends to influence household consumption which is considered a key economic driver.
The BSP has kept interest rates at its lowest level of 2 percent while encouraging consumers to borrow, to support the country's economic recovery.
-- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News