MANILA, Philippines — Inflation or rate of increase in the prices of goods and services slightly slowed down in March due to slower price movement of food and non-alcoholic beverages, data released Tuesday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
The PSA said the consumer price index was recorded at 4.5% in March, slightly slower than 4.7% registered in February. However, this is still faster than the 2.5% in March 2020.
March inflation brought the year-to-date inflation at 4.5%, still within the 4.2% to 5% forecast range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the agency said.
“The slowdown in inflation at the national level was primarily due to the lower annual increment registered in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 5.8 percent in March 2021, from 6.7 percent inflation in February 2021,” the PSA said in a statement.
Core inflation, which excludes selected food and energy items, stood at 3.5%. This was unchanged from the rate recorded in the previous month, but faster than the 3% recorded in March last year.
The PSA also noted deceleration in the annual increases in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco (12.1 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (1.9 percent); communication (0.2 percent); and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3.1 percent).
“The latest outturn is consistent with expectations that inflation could settle above the high-end of the target in 2021, reflecting the impact of supply-side constraints on domestic prices of key food commodities, such as meat, as well as the continuing uptick in international oil prices,” the BSP said in a statement.
“Nevertheless, inflation is still seen to return to within the target band in 2022 as supply-side influences subside. At the same time, timely and effective implementation of direct measures by the national government could contribute to easing price pressures,” it added.
The central bank also said that a tighter domestic supply of meat products and improved global economic activity could lend further upward pressures on inflation.
However, the ongoing pandemic also continues to pose downside risks to the inflation outlook, as the recent surge in virus infections and challenges over mass vaccination programs continue to temper prospects for domestic demand, it added.