January inflation slows down to 10-month low of 4.4%
Inflation for the first month of 2019 slowed down to a 10-month low of 4.4 percent, closer to government's target of 2-4 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced Tuesday morning.
In a press briefing, Undersecretary Lisa Grace Bersales said it was the "lowest annual rate since April 2018."
Bersales said the downtrend was mainly driven by a slump in the annual increment of food and non-alcoholic beverages, easing to 5.6 percent from 6.7 percent last December.
"For food and non-alcoholic beverages, food items like rice, meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs, and vegetables contributed to the deceleration in inflation in January 2019," she said.
Bersales explained that rice was a major commodity which helped lower inflation rate. It eased to 4.7 percent from 6 percent in December.
The PSA added that the top three contributors to the overall inflation were food and non-alcoholic beverages; housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.
For the National Capital Region, year-on-year inflation continued to slowdown with 4.6 percent compared to 4.8 percent in December and 4.7 percent in January last year.
The annual inflation rate for areas outside NCR also slid to 4.4 percent from 5.3 percent last month and 3.1 percent in January 2018.
Despite the lower inflation figure, PSA noted there was a significant increase of about 0.1 percent in the month-on month prices of all items.
Bersales said the cost of housing, water, electricity, gas an other fuels shoot up to 0.2 percent, breaking off the -0.1 percent during the previous month
She said the hike in fuel excise tax due to TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act) has not yet affected inflation figures.
"There's no room for complacency even though we are happy that the inflation is decelerating," she said. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS