Inquirer: Inflation slowed down to 3.9% in June

MANILA, Philippines — The increase in consumer prices slowed to a six-month low of 3.9 percent year-on-year in June as most commodity groups showed abating price hikes, according to the National Statistics Office.

This put the average inflation from January to June at 4.2 percent, which was still within the monetary authorities’ target range of between 3.5 and 4.5 percent for 2010.

Still, the rise in the cost of living in June was more than twice as fast as the 1.5 percent recorded in the same month of 2009.

Last month, the price increase for food, beverage and tobacco was recorded at 3.1 percent, the same level as in May.

All the other five sub-groups showed slower growths, with services showing the biggest decline at 3.9 percent from 5.8 percent previously.

Price increases for fuel, light and water continued to abate since hitting 18 percent in April, settling at 15.8 percent in June.

Slower price gains were also observed in clothing (1.9 percent in June from 2.1 percent in May), housing and repairs (1.6 percent from 1.7 percent), and miscellaneous items (1.3 percent from 1.5 percent).

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said on Tuesday that the June inflation was just a tad above the lower end of the BSP’s forecast range of 3.8-4.7 percent for the month.

“This inflation path therefore puts the full-year inflation targets for 2010 and 2011 fairly safe, and thus provides BSP the flexibility when we review the stance of monetary policy next week,” the BSP chief said.

The BSP aims to keep inflation between 3.5 and 5.5 percent this year and between 3 and 5 percent in 2011.

Tetangco added that negative news from Europe seemed to have abated, translating in reduced volatility in the international commodity and foreign exchange markets.

“Nevertheless, we will have to continue to be watchful of demand conditions on the domestic front as well as official action from the major central banks to see if any changes need to be made on current policy stance,” he said.

In a statement, NSO Administrator Carmelita N. Ericta said the annual inflation for food alone remained at the previous month’s level of 3.2 percent.

Ericta said higher price increases were posted in cereals, fruits and vegetables, meat and miscellaneous foods.

On the other hand, lower price gains were seen in dairy products and eggs. Prices of rice showed no change while those for corn continued to decline.

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About Benedict Bernabe

Benedict Bernabe, 27. Benedict has a Master's degree in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in European Languages, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He has worked with the United Nations in the Philippines as the Community Facilitator of the Community of Practice on HIV&AIDS. He worked with Standard & Poor's Capital IQ, a financial information company, as researcher, translator and quality analyst in the investment research team. Prior to this, we worked at IBM Business Services. Benedict is a certified yoga teacher.

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