By Ronnel W. Domingo, July 5, 2023; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Manila – Inflation in the Philippines eased for the fifth consecutive month in June to 5.4 percent, the lowest in 13 months,  according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

This brought the average inflation rate in the first semester of the year to 7.2 percent.

The readout for June is better than the expectation of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), whose guess was 5.7 percent,  and close to the low end of the BSP’s forecast range of 5.3 percent to 6.1 percent.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the downward pull on headline inflation was mainly from slower increases in prices of meat, fruits and sweets; gasoline, diesel and road transport fare, as well as electricity and home rent.

The latest readout — for June and for the semester — is still above the BSP’s goal of shepherding inflation to 3 percent or a range of 2 percent to 4 percent, but the regulator expects the monthly print to ease into the target band by the fourth quarter this year.