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Central Visayas posts highest consumer price gain in March

By: Marites Villamor Ilano April 05,2016 - 09:58 PM


Consumer prices increase as the May elections draw nearer. (PSA.GOV.PH)

Consumer prices nationwide went up by an average of 0.1 percent in March mainly due to an uptrend in oil prices and transportation rates, government reported yesterday.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report posted on its website yesterday, Central Visayas recorded the highest monthly price increase of 0.6 percent among the regions.

Seven other regions also reported higher prices, pushing the  consumer price index in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR) up by 0.1 percent for the period compared to -0.3 percent in February.

PSA traced the increase to higher indices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; transport;  and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages remained cheap in the regions, “with the index still registering a negative rate,” PSA said.

In NCR, however, PSA said prices of consumer items dropped by 0.2 percent in March due to declines in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages as well as housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.

The higher annual increases in the price indices caused inflation to increase to 1.1 percent in March from 0.9 per cent in February.

This was, however, still lower than the 2.4 percent in March 2015 and within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas forecast of 0.6-1.4 percent for the period. Inflation is targeted to remain within 2.0 to 4.0 percent this year.

“In the first three months of 2016, inflation remained relatively low and stable in line with expectations over the policy horizon, which is likely to support consumption growth,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra in a separate statement.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) noted a slight increase in food inflation to 1.6 percent in March from 1.5 percent in February.

The agency cited increases in the price of meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs. But prices of rice remained low, posting a decline of 1.7 percent in March despite the El Niño phenomenon.

Esguerra said rice prices have been declining consistently since October 2015. Prices of vegetables peaked in January, but declined by 2.9 percent in March.

“We have been closely monitoring price movements and looking at factors that influence commodity prices, especially food consumed by the poor,” Esguerra, who is also Neda director-general, said.

He said government needs to remain vigilant.

“Although El Niño has entered its weakening stage, the risk of higher food prices remains given the onset of the summer season,” said Esguerra.

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TAGS: consumer, National Capital Region, PSA

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