Philippines: Consumer prices decline further in March
April 4, 2014
In March, consumer prices fell 0.07% over the previous month, which contrasted the 0.07% rise registered in February and marked the lowest rate since October 2012. The monthly decrease was primarily driven by a fall in prices for non-food items, particularly in prices for electricity, gas and other fuels, which more than offset a price increase in alcoholic beverages and tobacco and unchanged prices for food items.
Annual inflation edged down from 4.1% in February to 3.9% in March. Meanwhile, annual average inflation-the reference rate the Central Bank uses as a guide for monetary policy-remained stable at February's 3.1%. Average inflation is still within the Central Bank's target of 4.0% plus/minus 1.0 percentage points.
The core inflation index, which excludes volatile items such as food and oil, decreased 0.07% over the previous month in March (February: +0.15% month-on-month). Annual core inflation fell from 3.0% in February to 2.8% in March and reached a nearly 10-year low.
The Central Bank has set an inflation target of 4.0% plus/minus 1.0 percentage points for 2014 and of 3.0% plus/minus 1.0 percentage points for 2015. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect annual inflation to average 4.0% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's forecast. For 2015, the panel expects inflation to average 3.8%.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions