MANILA (UPDATE) - Inflation for the month of September quickened to 6.9 percent, the highest since October 2018, partly due to the higher prices of select food items, the state statistics bureau said on Wednesday.
Higher price movements of food and non-alcoholic beverages were among the causes of this month's inflation spike, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
September's inflation was higher than the 6.3 percent inflation in August and the 6.4 percent in July, but within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' forecast of 6.6 to 7.4 percent.
Inflation has so far breached the government's 2 to 4 percent target for the 6th straight month.
"Nakikita namin na ang food talagang tumataas at makikita natin sa individual subgroups halos lahat tumaas at ito ay across different regions," National Statistician Dennis Mapa said.
(We saw that food is really rising and we can see from the individual subgroups, almost all have risen and this happened across different regions.)
Inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 7.4 percent. The category has 70.6 percent of the increase in inflation.
Inflation for food at the national level rose to 7.7 percent in September 2022, from 6.5 percent in August 2022, the PSA said.
Food inflation was higher for the National Capital Region at 8.8 percent, while three regions recorded double-digit increases in food items, namely: Eastern Visayas at 10.4 percent, the Zamboanga Peninsula at 10.5 percent, and Davao Region at 10.8 percent.
Other contributors to the higher increase in inflation for the month include housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
"Upside risks continue to dominate the inflation outlook in the near term," the BSP said in a statement.
Mapa said the agency is also monitoring the peso's depreciation against the US dollar since it has an impact on imported goods that could then affect local pump prices, among others. This, in turn, could have a "spillover" effect on other commodity groups such as food.
Last month, the central bank hiked its policy rate to 4.25 percent to tame inflation.
"The BSP’s recent policy actions are intended to bring inflation and inflation expectations back to the target to ensure the balanced and sustainable growth of the economy in the medium term. The BSP is prepared to take further policy actions to bring inflation toward a target-consistent path over the medium term, consistent with its primary objective to promote price stability," the BSP said.
Inflation is expected to average 5.6 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2023 before easing back within target by 2024, the BSP said.
Mapa said, "the risk of future inflation of the remaining months would really come from the food [category]."
The National Economic and Development Authority meanwhile said it is committed to ensuring food security for Filipinos.
“The government’s priority is to make sure that there is sufficient and affordable food supply for every Filipino family,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
He said the agency would ensure support for the agriculture sector and the farmers to ensure ample supply, which could mean lower food prices.
-- with reports from Edson Guido, ABS-CBN News