Philippines Oct CPI remains at 6.7% y/y, core CPI 4.9% from 4.7% in Sept

08, Nov. 2018

MANILA, NNA - Consumer prices in the Philippines in October remained well above the central bank's target, suggesting President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to tame inflation have yet to show an effect.

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Tuesday said CPI rose 6.7 percent in October from a year earlier, unchanged from the 6.7-percent rise in September, but the year-on-year rise in the core consumer price index, excluding volatile food and energy prices, accelerated to 4.9 percent from 4.7 percent in September.

Concerns about the highest inflation in Southeast Asia were slightly eased, however, with the month-on-month increase in total CPI slowing to 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 0.8 percent in September and 0.9 percent in August.

National statistician Lisa Grace S. Bersales told a news briefing that inflation was showing signs of abating.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo also acknowledged emerging effects of recent efforts by the central bank and the government to curb inflation.

“We see effects of the monetary and non-monetary measures that we have taken to date,” he told NNA in a telephone interview.

The central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate a total of 150 basis points this year to 4.5 percent, the highest in nearly a decade.

The government moved in September to ease restrictions on food imports and remove non-tariff barriers that bloat prices by eliminating middlemen in the supply chain.

Annual consumer inflation rose an average 5.1 percent in the first 10 months of 2018, significantly above the central bank's target range of 2 to 4 percent, providing sufficient grounds for another increase in the policy rate.

The Philippines central bank is scheduled to hold its next policy meeting on Nov. 15.

At its last policy meeting on Sept. 27, the bank’s Monetary Board raised the key interest rate by 50 basis points to 4.5 percent, the fourth consecutive rate hike since May.