Inflation easing?

October 05, 2018

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team urged the public to be on guard against profiteers amid the record-high 6.7 percent inflation recorded in September even as it said there  were “clear signs” inflation was easing, and reassured the public that it was “working swiftly” to temper price increases.

“The public should stay on guard against profiteers and report those who unscrupulously take advantage of the current situation,” the economic team said in its statement yesterday.

The September inflation of 6.7 percent was slightly below the 6.8 percent expectation of economists and was within the 6.3 to 7.1 percent projection of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Cabinet officials said in a joint statement.

In the National Capital Region, inflation slowed to 6.3 percent from 7 percent in August. Non-food inflation was at 4 percent from 4.1 percent during the same comparable period, according to the statement.

“These clear signs of easing boost our confidence that inflation will taper off by year-end and go back to our target range by early next year,” the officials said.

“But we must couple this optimism with quick and focused actions in order to sustain gains made so far in keeping inflation in check,” they said.

The slower than expected inflation “eases the concern a little bit,” especially since it did not breach 7 percent, BPI lead economist Jun Neri told ANC’s Market Edge.

“But there continues to be concern about are we not still hitting the peak as far as the headline number is concerned. This will probably continue to cause some pessimism that interest rate hikes are not about to end just yet,” he said.

The economic team said it understood how the public was “feeling the heat” of faster inflation, adding, “We assure everyone that we are working swiftly to temper the rise in the prices of goods and offer relief to those most affected.”

Global oil prices are a “concern” with demand expected to rise in the winter, they said. The government is also working to trim the country’s overall energy demand while pushing for renewable energy and more fuel efficient transport.

Malacanang blamed the rising prices of fuel for the record-high 6.7 percent inflation recorded in September but assured the public that the government was undertaking measures to cushion the impact of rising prices.

“Well, pagdating po sa paglobo ng inflation alam naman po natin na ang pinagmumulan niyan ay ‘yung pagtaas po ng presyo ng krudo. Tumaas na naman po ang presyo ng krudo,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said .    

Roque noted that the government has already imported rice to lower prices and help temper inflation.

The Palace official reiterated the need for the Philippines to have a domestic source of oil rather than merely relying on oil imports.

“Kaya nga po inaatupag natin yung paghahanap ng langis at isa pong option diyan ay ‘yung joint exploration diyan sa West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Roque earlier said that possible joint energy exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea would give the country energy security as oil prices continue to rise in the international market.