MANILA -- The average price of Dubai crude in the last 3 months of the year will determine whether or not a scheduled increase in excise taxes on fuel will be implemented in 2019, a finance official said Tuesday.
The first tranche of tax reforms set an $80 per barrel threshold for the automatic suspension of further excise duty increases. The price of Dubai crude recently hit that level.
"We're watching it very closely. The international oil import prices have to be monitored closely on a day-to-day basis," Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino told ANC's Headstart.
Suspending further hikes in fuel excise taxes could slash revenues next year by P40 billion, he said.
With world oil prices accounting for a "huge chunk" of inflationary pressures, Lambino said President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team will "implement with urgency" measures to bring down food prices.
Rice alone accounted for 1 percentage point of the 6.7-percent rise in consumer prices in September. Rice, fish, meat and vegetables account for 2.8 percentage points, he said.
Lambino reiterated the urgency of passing a law to impose tariffs on rice in place of import quotas to help bring down the price of the staple grain.
"We would like to see inflation moderate in the fourth quarter, meaning decelerate a bit, bring us close to our target 2-4 percent," he said.