MANILA – The country’s inflation rate remains under control despite surpassing the government’s target band since January this year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said.
“Under control yan (That’s under control);” he said during the Laging Handa public briefing aired over state-owned PTV 4 Monday.
Domestic inflation rate was on the rise since the last quarter of 2020 and exceeded the government’s 2-4 percent target band since January this year when it rose to 4.2 percent.
It further accelerated to 4.7 percent last February but registered a slower rate in March at 4.5 percent.
Average inflation in the first three months this year stood at 4.2 percent.
Monetary authorities forecast inflation to average at 4.2 percent this year while it is projected to post a slower average next year at 2.8 percent.
Diokno attributed the faster inflation rate to transitory factors, particularly the rise of some commodities like meat and oil rice.
He said the slower inflation rate last March was due to several factors like deceleration of the rice and vegetable inflation as well as meat inflation, with the latter on the price ceiling imposed on this product to address the impact of supply constraints.
He said central bank officials forecast inflation to remain elevated in the first half this year partly due to elevated inflation of some commodities because of the pandemic before decelerating in the second half of the year.
Asked how the government could help address the impact of the elevated inflation rate on the public especially now that a lot of people lost their jobs, Diokno said the key is providing jobs.
Citing Department of Labor and Employment data, Diokno said there are about 5.1 million workers who were retrenched and lost their jobs because of the closure of some establishments.
However, he cited the improvement of investors’ sentiments based on the latest business expectation survey of the BSP, which the respondents point to possible impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination rollout, reopening of the economy, and growth in sales orders.
“Dapat mabigyan ng suporta ang mga piling industriya tulad ng health care, construction at yung business process outsourcing (Select sectors should be given support such as the health care, construction, and the business process outsourcing),” he added. (PNA)