By Mariela Angella Oladive
Western Visayas’ inflation rate further accelerated to 6.6 percent in September 2023 from 6.1 percent in August, based on the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 6.
While the increase is substantial, it remains lower than the 7.5 percent recorded in the same month the previous year. On the other hand, the average year-to-date inflation was recorded at 7.8 percent.
PSA 6 OIC regional director Nelida Amolar noted during a press conference on October 19 that high inflation rate does not necessarily mean the economy is weak.
Inflation is the overall increase of prices of goods and services in an economy over a given period of time. It is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which track the changes in consumer prices based on a representative basket of goods and services over time.
According to the data presented by the PSA 6, the region’s inflation observed an upward trend due to higher annual increase in the food and non-alcoholic beverages index, which surged by 10.5 percent this month from the 8.7% recorded in the previous month.
It was followed by the transport sector, which saw an increase of 2.7 percent from 1.1 percent, and education services experienced a rise of 7.5 percent from 5.7 percent.
Also, notable higher inflation rates were observed in the indices of various commodity groups during the month: health, 3.0 percent from 2.7 percent; recreation, sport, and culture, 5.7 percent from 5.2 percent; and alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 10.8 percent from 10.6 percent.
Conversely, annual growth slowed down during the month in the indices of clothing and footwear with 3.9 percent; housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels with 0.2 percent; furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance with 7.0 percent; restaurants and accommodation services with 10.4 percent; personal care and miscellaneous goods and services with 5.7 percent.
The remaining commodity groups either retained their previous month’s inflation rates or had zero percent annual growths.
Food inflation in the region likewise increased to 10.8 percent in September 2023, from 9.0 percent annual growth in the previous month, while it was lower at 9.5 percent in the same month in the previous year.
The uptrend is mainly influenced by higher annual growth in the food sub-groups of meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals with a 6.9 percent rate this month, up from 0.6 in the previous month, followed by cereal and cereal products, which saw an 11.6 percent inflation, from 8.1 percent, and fish and seafood went up to 10.5 percent from 8.8.
Also, faster inflation was noted in the indices of fruits and nuts, with a 6.8 percent inflation rate from 5.5 percent, and ready-made food and other food products not elsewhere
classified (n.e.c), with 8.1 percent from 7.9 percent in the previous month.
Compared to their annual growth rates in August 2023, inflation rates in September 2023 accelerated in five out of six provinces in Western Visayas. Negros Occidental had the highest inflation rate at 7.6 percent, while Guimaras had the lowest rate at 5.2 percent.
Of the two highly urbanized cities in the region, Iloilo City recorded 6.3% growth, while Bacolod City had 6.4% inflation.