August inflation eases to 6.3%

Headline inflation slowed to its two-month low of 6.3% in August as food and transport costs eased, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday morning.

August’s inflation print eased from the nearly four-year high of 6.4% in July but remained higher than 4.4% in August a year ago, preliminary data from the PSA showed.

This was lower than the 6.4% median estimate in a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week. It also settled within the 5.9-6.7% forecast range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for that month. It was also the fifth consecutive month that inflation went above the BSP’s 2-4% target range.

Last month’s inflation print was the slowest in two months, or since the 6.1% in June.

Month on month, inflation picked up 0.4%. Stripping out seasonality factors, month-on-month inflation inched up 0.4% in August as well.

Inflation averaged 4.9% in the eight months to August, lower than the 4% seen in the same period a year ago. This was also lower than the central bank’s revised 5.4% inflation forecast this year.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile prices of food and fuel, jumped to 4.6% year on year in August. This was higher than 3.9% seen in July and 2.8% in August last year.

Heavily weighted food and beverages slowed to 6.3% year on year in August from 6.4% in July. Transport likewise eased to 14.6% from 18.1%.

Meanwhile, inflation as experienced by the poor households, which still remained under 2012-based prices, steadied at 5.9% in August from July and 5.3% a year ago. — AMPY