By Cai Ordinario, August 29 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Bloomberg

THE poorest Filipinos saw the slowest inflation they have experienced in nearly two years, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Based on the Consumer Price Index for bottom 30-percent income households, PSA said inflation experienced by the poorest reached 3.1 percent.

This is slower than the 4-percent inflation posted in June and 7.6 percent in July 2018. In fact, it is the slowest in 23 months or since August 2017 when inflation was at 3 percent.

“Relative to their annual rates in June 2019, inflation was slower in the indices of all the commodity groups during the month, except for the index of housing and repairs [H&R],” PSA said.

PSA data showed inflation was slower in all commodities, including the food index which only posted an increase of 2.7 percent in July 2019.

The weight of food in the basket of goods used for the computation of the inflation experienced by the poorest 30 percent, as previously explained by National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa, is 70 percent against 39 percent for all the households.

PSA data showed that rice, corn and cereals posted contractions in July at 0.4 percent, 2.5 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Only fish and eggs posted price increases in July 201— fish to 2.8 percent from 2.5 percent; and eggs, 7.8 percent from 7.6 percent.

“Except for the indices of eggs and fish, the other food groups exhibited slower annual increments in July 2019,” PSA said.

NCR inflation

In the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila, the poorest saw inflation slow to 0.9 percent in July 2019 on the back of cheaper food and lower fuel, light and water (FLW) costs.

Food prices in Metro Manila slowed to 0.9 percent in July 2019 while FLW saw a contraction of 0.9 percent in prices during the period.

This was also complemented by slower annual gains in the indices of food, beverages and tobacco (FBT) at 0.9 percent; clothing, 0.8 percent; services, 2.2 percent; and miscellaneous, 1.7 percent.

On the other hand, in terms of H&R, PSA said it recorded a higher growth of 1.4 percent during the month.

Outside NCR

In Areas Outside NCR (AONCR), inflation also slowed to 3.1 percent in July 2019 compared to 4.1 percent in June 2019 and 7.6 percent in July 2018.

“Slowdowns in the annual increments were observed in the indices of all the commodity groups, except for the index of H&R, which exhibited a higher annual uptick of 4.5 percent during the month,” PSA said.

Compared with their annual rates in the previous month, all the regions outside NCR posted slower increases in July 2019, the agency said.

This is except for the poor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who experienced higher inflation at 3.2 percent during the month.

Among the regions in AONCR, the slowest annual rate of 0.6 percent during the period was seen in Northern Mindanao, while the highest was still observed in Mimaropa region at 8.1 percent.