October food prices remain stable despite typhoon
by V. Quimbo
Davao City (9 November) -- Food prices remained stable for the month of October despite Typhoon Juan, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
"Despite the upticks in prices of some food commodities after Typhoon Juan, the overall situation of food prices remained stable for October. The ample supply of vegetables resulted in reduced market prices compared to the previous month," according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr.
Some vegetable items that had price markdowns were tomatoes (-40.3 percent), cabbage (-11.3 percent), and carrots (-1.6 percent).
Headline inflation last month slowed to 2.8 percent from the 3.5 percent in September, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Year-to-date inflation stood at 4.0 percent, well within the Development Budget Coordination Committee target of 3.5 to 5.5 percent for the year.
The easing of overall price inflation last month can be attributed to the deceleration of prices in two commodity groups, namely food, beverage and tobacco (FBT), and fuel, light and water (FLW), according to the NSO.
"The easing of prices under the FLW commodity group was due to the significant drop of electricity generation charges, which was the lowest recorded since March this year," Paderanga noted.
Generation charge for October was lower by P1.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh), from P5.41 per kWh in September to October's P4.31 per kWh. The reduction followed the P0.68 per kWh drop last month, Paderanga added, citing information from the Manila Electric Company.
The NEDA chief also said that inflation in the next few months is expected to be influenced by minimum wage increases in five more regions.
During the months of August and September, minimum wages were increased in the Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, Caraga and Western Visayas.
Meanwhile, inflation in areas outside of the National Capital Region (AONCR) stood at 2.9 percent, higher compared to NCR's 2.2 percent.
Commenting on strong capital inflows within Southeast Asia, Paderanga said that central banks of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), such as Thailand and Indonesia, have already started to take action to curb inflationary impacts of persistent capital inflows in the region.
"In the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has approved policy amendments on the Manual of Regulations on Foreign Exchange Transactions on 28 October 2010. This is to keep the foreign exchange regulatory framework responsive to current economic conditions, ensuring the competitiveness of the Philippine peso," Paderanga said.
Amendments that will encourage greater foreign exchange outflows include (a) increase in over-the-counter foreign exchange purchases ceiling from US$30,000 to US$60,000 by the Philippine residents from authorized agent banks (AABs) and AAB foreign exchange corporations (AAB-forex corps) without documentation for non-trade current account purposes, and (b) increase in the allowable purchase of foreign exchange by the residents from ABs/AAB-forex corps from the current ceiling of US$100,000 to up to US$1 million covering advance payment requirements for import transactions without prior BSP approval but subject to standard documentary requirements. (NEDA) [top]