Philippines’ inflation rate slowed down in December 2023—PSA

Philippines’ inflation rate slowed down in December 2023—PSA

THE upward trajectory of price increases has decelerated.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the inflation rate for goods decreased from 4.1% in November to 3.9% in December 2023.

“Our inflation is 3.9%, of course, we know it’s high this year. This was the slowest since February 2022, wherein the headline inflation was recorded at 3.0%,” according to Usec. Dennis Mapa, National Statistician.

Several factors contributed to the deceleration of inflation, including a faster decrease in the prices of electricity, LPG, vegetables like cabbage, chicken, and coffee.

However, consumers, and eatery owners, did not feel the impact.

“Because their prices didn’t decrease much. Their prices didn’t drop significantly. Especially in December, the prices of chicken and pork increased,” Felly Bata, Eatery Owner said.

“I didn’t feel it. It’s still high. I buy vegetables and meat every day. The price of cabbage went down, but other [goods] went up,” said Aurora Ablay, Eatery Owner.

Rice Prices Increased in December 2023

While the overall increase in prices of goods has slowed down, certain items, like rice, have witnessed an increase.

The inflation rate for rice surged to 19.6% in December 2023, according to the PSA.

“It increased somewhat. In September, it had the first spike, 17.9%. Then it went down in October, 13%. In November, it increased to 15.8%. And now, in December, it’s 19.6%. The last highest rice inflation was in March 2009, reaching 22.9%,” Usec. Dennis Mapa, National Statistician stated.

The increase in rice prices prompted eatery owners like Felly to reduce the serving size of rice.

“We reduce the serving size to make a profit from selling rice. So we could have money to buy rice again. [If you don’t reduce the serving size, what will happen?] We won’t make any profit. Especially since it goes to the capital, we have no earnings,” Bata added.

Based on PSA monitoring, the price of rice increased in December 2023 compared to the same period last year.

“We observed that the increase in rice prices was quite high compared to all other commodity items we track,” Mapa added.

Rice Prices May Further Increase in January 2024—SINAG

The price of rice may see an additional increase in January 2024, according to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), a leading agricultural group in the Philippines.

SINAG warned that the price of well-milled rice in the market may increase by P2/kg, ranging from P54/kg to P56/kg.

The reason for this is the increase in the farm gate price rough rice.

“The farm gate price now increased, the delivered to the miller is P31.50, so the equivalent of that, from palay to rice delivered, is almost P50 now delivered to Manila,” according to Engr. Rosendo So, Chairman, SINAG.

“The world market prices of Thailand and Vietnam increased. So, the imported rice prices will automatically go up,” he added.

However, the Department of Agriculture assured that there is no need to worry as the importation of rice continues unabated, totaling 495,000 metric tons.

“At present, we need to secure the supply. We know that there will be El Niño, which will pose additional challenges to our productivity levels, and we need to ensure that we have enough supply,” Asec. Arnel de Mesa, Spokesperson, DA stated.


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