Economic team: Addressing inflation drivers 'utmost' priority


Posted at Aug 07 2018 02:56 PM

Economic team: Addressing inflation drivers 'utmost' priority 1
Consumers buy rice at Quezon City's Munoz market. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- "Stronger" measures to lift the agriculture sector and "strategic" trade moves are needed to address inflation, President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team said Tuesday.

Consumer prices rose 5.7 percent in July, picking up for the seventh straight month, and holding at its highest in 5 years, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

Inflation will taper off towards the end of the year, according to the statement from the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance and the National Economic and Development Authority.

"The current price pressures emanate mainly from supply-side factors. Addressing supply constraints to curb inflation is the utmost priority of the government," the economic team said.

The team said "stronger government measures, most especially in improving agriculture productivity and, in the short term, a strategic trade policy, are needed to address supply constraints that have further pushed consumer prices up."

A declining rice stock due to weather disturbances is part of the supply problem, the economic team said, as it pushed for tariffs on the staple grain in place of import quotas.

"This reform in agriculture will also provide a P10 billion enhancement fund for rice farmers that will help them have better access to technology and, thereby, ramp up their production," the team said.