MANILA (UPDATE) - Inflation in October further accelerated on the back of higher food prices including vegetables and meat, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Friday.
The consumer price index rose 7.7 percent, from 6.9 percent in September. This is the highest in nearly 14 years or since December 2008 during the global financial crisis, when it hit 7.8 percent.
October's figure is within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' projected 7.1 to 7.9 percent expectation.
Inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose to 9.4 percent in October from 7.4 percent the previous month, largely influenced by increased prices for vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and other parts of slaughtered animals, PSA data showed.
Faster annual increases were also noted for rice, corn, flour, fish and milk, among others.
"Medyo wide, di lang siya sa vegetables. Mataas din sa meat... fish. May iba pa tayong mga items, sugar, confectionary desserts. (It's wide not just on vegetables. Meat is high, fish and other items like sugar, confectionary, desserts) You will notice for NCR in particular, double digit na almost all sub-groups. That is our concern," National Statistician Dennis Mapa said.
Inflation in the National Capital Region also increased further to 7.7 percent for the month from 6.5 percent in September, also due to the faster price movements of foods and non-alcoholic beverages, according to data.
Average inflation from January to October is now at 5.4 percent.
Inflation is likely to remain elevated and above the government target of 2 to 4 percent for the rest of the year, government estimates showed.
Mapa said rising inflation has knocked the Philippine peso’s purchasing power to 0.87 year-to-date. It was 0.85 for October. That means, for every P1 a Filipino spends, only P0.85 worth of goods and services was purchased.
Meanwhile, recent weather disturbances are also likely to push supply-side inflation in the coming months after crops were damaged, an analyst said.
“I don’t think we’re at the peak yet because we just encountered a major typhoon that affected the country,” Ateneo Department of Economics Chairman Alvin Ang told ANC.
ING Bank Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Mapa said the Bango Sentral ng Pilipinas is likely to remain hawkish due to rising inflation "even after 75-bps hike pledge."
BSP Gov. Felipe Medalla said on Thursday the monetary board would match the US Federal Reserve's 75-bps interest rate hike in its Nov. 17 meeting.
The BSP has raised its benchmark rate by a cumulative 225 basis points to 4.25 percent this year to cool down inflation.
The National Economic and Development Authority for its part underscored the need to support vulnerable families and the production sector.
“It’s high time that we boost support for the agriculture sector not only in post-disaster recovery but more importantly through preemptive measures," NEDA Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
“We would like to assure the public that the Philippine government is closely monitoring the inflation and possible inflation pressures. We continue to prioritize and proactively manage these issues by providing immediate assistance and enabling timely imports to augment domestic food production, while building the resilience of families, communities and the economy,” Balisacan added.