MANILA – The country’s inflation rate slowed down to 4.5 percent in March from the previous month’s 4.7 percent on the back of cheaper food prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.
The average price increase of basic goods and services for the first three months of 2021 also reached 4.5 percent.
In a virtual press briefing, PSA Undersecretary and national statistician Dennis Mapa attributed last month’s easing inflation rate mainly to deceleration in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, particularly vegetables like garlic, fruits, and fish.
“So we can say that because of good weather after the storm that we experienced in last quarter (of 2020), these contributed to downward movement in prices of vegetables, including fruits and fish,” Mapa said.
He said the food and non-alcoholic beverages index had a 50.9-percent share to overall inflation in March.
Mapa said retail prices of meat, particularly pork, however, picked up to 20.9 percent, which he believed was caused by low supply.
He said retail prices of pure pork meat in the National Capital Region (NCR) averaged PHP329 per kilo in March from PHP323 per kilo the previous month.
In areas outside NCR, it slightly declined to PHP312 from PHP317.
“Of course the ASF (African swine fever) nag-start mag-contribute sa pagtaas ng presyo ng (started contributing to higher prices of) meat, particularly pork,” he added.
Mapa also cited higher costs of beef and chicken in March, which increased along with pork prices.
He said the commodity group with the second-largest share in last month’s overall inflation was transport, particularly tricycle fare.
Mapa said faster increases were recorded in prices of transport with 13.8-percent inflation.
He added that the inflation in the NCR also slowed down to 3.7 percent in March from 4.1 percent the previous month, while those in areas outside of the NCR also eased to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent. (PNA)