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PIA Press Release

Inflation continues slowdown in February

Manila (6 March) -- Inflation continued its slowdown in February dropping to 4.2 percent from the 4.3 percent in the previous month and 7.3 percent a year ago, preliminary reports from the National Statistics Office (NSO).

"The low inflation was brought about by slower annual price hikes in the food, beverage and tobacco (FBT), housing and repair, and services indices," said Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto B. Santos in a memorandum for the President.

Bringing down inflation was the drop in the prices of selected food items with FBT drastically dropping to 3.8 percent in February 2010 from 12.3 percent in February 2009 due to favorable weather conditions, Santos said.

On a month-on-month basis, inflation rates for fruits and vegetables, fish, and eggs declined by 4.6 percent, 0.4 percent, and 0.1 percent, respectively. Meat prices remained the same while rice and corn prices increased by 0.6 percent from the previous month.

Prices of minor repairs (-0.2%) also declined in February compared to January prices.

The country's low inflation regime still remained amidst price increases in other items. Fuel, light and water inflation increased by 11.0 percent in February from a year ago, largely due to base effects as year-on-year inflation for aggregate utilities recorded negative rates for most of 2009 but climbed by 3.8 percent from January 2010 levels.

Santos, who is also the Acting NEDA Director-General, said "the cost of power went up as the dry season came in along with higher international gas prices, tight generation capacity, and recovery of deferred adjustments.

This necessitated a ?1 increase in generation charges in February 2010".

Inflation in Areas Outside the National Capital Region (AONCR) dropped by 4.3 percent in February from the 4.6 percent in the previous month.

Meanwhile, NCR inflation rate increased to 4.1 percent from 3.6 percent in January, but still lower than AONCR.

Taking out the effects of selected prices of volatile items, core inflation, on the other hand, went up to 3.6 percent in February from 3.0 percent in the previous month, according to the NSO. (PIA) [top]

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