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Sept. inflation zooms to over 13-year high

The OVERALL year-on-year increase in prices of widely used goods and services rose to its highest pace in September in more than 13 years as food costs spiked.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed headline inflation rose to 6.9% in September from 6.3% in August and 4.2% in September 2021.

September’s inflation print matched September and October 2018’s 6.9% and was the fastest in over 13 years or since the 7.2% print in February 2009, during the global financial crisis, PSA’s Undersecretary Claire Dennis S. Mapa said during the press conference.

September print marked the sixth straight month inflation breached the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) 2-4% target this year.

The latest headline figure was higher than the 6.7% median in a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week but fell within the 6.6%-7.4% estimate given by the BSP for that month.

Inflation averaged 5.1% in the nine months to September, higher than 4% last year. This remained below the BSP’s 5.6% forecast for 2022.

Core inflation, which discounted volatile prices of food and fuel, stood at 4.5% in September, slower than the previous month’s 4.6% but higher than 2.6% a year earlier.

“The main source of the higher trend of September 2022 overall inflation was due to the rising of prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages at 7.4% in September, from 6.3% in August 2021,” the PSA said in a statement.

The PSA also noted increases in the vegetables, tubers, etc. (3.5% in September from -2.7% in August), fish and other seafood (9.1% from 7.2%), and sugar, confectionery, and desserts (30.2% from 26%).

Other commodity groups also picked up in September. Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels picked up to 7.3% in September from 6.8% in August, followed by restaurants and accommodation services picking up slightly by 4.6% from 4.2%.

Similarly, September inflation rate for the bottom 30% of households, which remained under 2012 prices, surged to 6.7% from 5.9% in August, and 5.3% in September 2021. This was the highest inflation rate for this segment in almost four years or since the 7.3% print in November 2017.

For the year, bottom 30% inflation averaged 4.8%. — Bernadette Therese M. Gadon

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