Philippines inflation steadies at 3% in Feb

Year-on-year headline inflation in the Philippines remained at 3 per cent in February, mainly due to hikes in the cost of non-food household, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Friday.

In an online briefing, PSA head Dennis Mapa said that inflation for food decelerated to 1.1 per cent last month, while non-food inflation increased to 4.1 per cent primarily due to rising oil prices, reports Xinhua news agency.

Specifically, electricity, gas, and other fuels for household inflation accelerated to 12.8 per cent, and private transport inflation increased to 29.8 per cent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government will continue its efforts to increase food supply by helping farmers improve their productivity and importing, when necessary, to fill supply gaps.

“Prices of commodities, such as oil, wheat, and corn, are going up as demand outpaces supply. That is why we need to proactively manage the impact on the people through these two measures,” Chua said in a statement.

Chua also reiterated the importance of shifting the entire country to Covid-19 alert level 1, the lowest on a scale of 5, to rev up the economy.

The government downgraded the pandemic restrictions in Metro Manila and 38 other areas to alert level 1 from March 1 to 15 as Covid-19 transmission slowed and the hospitalization rate declined.

The rest of the country is under alert level 2.

The National Economic and Development Authority estimates that shifting the entire country to alert level 1 will generate an estimated 16 billion pesos ($309 million) of economic activity per week and translate to 297,000 fewer unemployed over the next quarter.

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