Utilities, fuels drive inflation in Western Visayas

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Inflation in Western Visayas surged to 4.9% in June 2024, driven primarily by rising costs in utilities and fuels, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

This sudden spike marked an increase from the 4.3% recorded in May 2024 and a significant climb from the 3.7% national average. The inflation rate was 6.8% in June 2023.

The PSA identified the key contributors to this inflationary trend as the housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels category, which saw an annual growth rate spike to 2.7% in June from a contraction of 0.3% in May. This sector accounted for a significant portion of the overall inflation increase.

Utilities and fuels have been particularly volatile, reflecting broader trends in global energy markets, which have had a direct impact on household expenses across Western Visayas.

Electric distributors in Panay and Negros reported residential electricity rates ranging between P11 and P17 per kilowatt-hour in June.

The clothing and footwear sector also saw an uptick in inflation, rising to 3.3% from 3.1% in May.

Health-related expenses slightly increased to 2.7% from 2.6% the previous month.

Conversely, certain sectors experienced declining inflation rates, such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco, which fell to 3.3% from 3.7%, and the transport sector, which decreased to 3.2% from 3.8%.

The food and non-alcoholic beverages category maintained a high inflation rate at 7.0%, unchanged from May.

Despite this, specific food items saw varied inflationary pressures. Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals increased to 13.2% from 11.2% in May.

Fruits and nuts inflation rose to 5.8% from 3.6%, while milk, dairy products, and eggs increased to 2.7% from 2.1%.

PSA data also indicated that the bottom 30% income households faced a higher inflation rate, reaching 5.9% in June 2024 from 5.4% in May. This demographic was particularly affected by the sharp increase in housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels costs, which jumped to 3.5% from -1.5%.

The provinces of Aklan and Guimaras recorded the highest inflation rates in the region, both at 6.2% for June.

Capiz, on the other hand, registered the lowest at 4.7%. Meanwhile, Iloilo City and Bacolod City also reported rising inflation rates, with Iloilo City at 2.2% and Bacolod City at 6.1%.

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