Energy, transport ease inflation; gov’t to tackle food prices

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The Philippines’ inflation rate dipped to 3.7 percent in June 2024, down from 3.9 percent in May, largely due to easing energy and transport costs, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

However, food prices continue to rise, prompting the government to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring food security.

A significant factor contributing to the slowdown in inflation was a sharper deflation in electricity, which recorded a -13.7% decrease from -8.5%, leading to a reduction in the inflation rate for housing and utilities to 0.1 percent from 0.9 percent in May.

Transport inflation also decelerated to 3.1 percent from 3.5 percent, driven by lower inflation rates in personal transport and gasoline prices.

“We are committed to maintaining the country’s inflation rate within our target range of 2 to 4 percent. The easing in our inflation rate in June, mainly due to lower electricity rates, highlights the importance of strengthening our energy sector to sustain our gains,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement.

Despite these improvements, food inflation increased to 6.5 percent in June from 6.1 percent in May.

The rise in food prices was primarily driven by higher costs of vegetables and meat. Vegetable inflation jumped to 7.2 percent from 2.7 percent, affected by the onset of the rainy season.

Meat inflation also saw a significant increase to 3.1 percent from 1.6 percent, with higher prices for pork, chicken, and beef.

Pork prices rose due to increased African swine fever cases, while chicken prices were impacted by a temporary import ban on poultry products from the United States and Australia.

Although rice inflation slightly declined, it remained high at 22.5 percent in June, compared to 23.0 percent in May.

“We will continue to work closely with the government, stakeholders, and other priority sectors to implement necessary measures to ensure that the country will have a sufficient and affordable food supply—including rice—for every Filipino,” Balisacan added.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has expressed determination to achieve price stability and aims to return to the country’s average inflation rate target range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent between 2025 and 2028. This will be pursued through proactive monetary policy measures and targeted government interventions addressing the primary drivers of inflation.

Key measures include implementing the new Comprehensive Tariff Program for 2024-2028 to improve the affordability of essential commodities and the Food Stamp Program to mitigate the impact of elevated food prices on the poor and vulnerable sectors.

“We also thank the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for distributing PhP1.37 billion in cash assistance to farmers and fisherfolk affected by El Niño, with each recipient receiving PhP10,000 under the Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP). In addition to cash assistance, family food packs were also provided to the affected families and individuals nationwide,” Balisacan said.

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