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Inflation picks up in November, fastest in 21 months

The overall year-on-year increase in prices of widely used goods accelerated to its fastest pace in 21 months, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary PSA data showed headline inflation at 3.3% last month, picking up from 2.5% in October and 1.3% in November 2019.

The latest inflation result marked the fastest pace in 21 months or since the 3.8% reading in February 2019. It also matched the 3.3% print in March 2019.

The latest headline figure is higher than the 2.7% median in a BusinessWorld poll conducted late last week and falls within the 2.4%-3.2% estimate given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for November.

Year to date, inflation settled at 2.5%, still within the BSP’s 2-4% target as well as the 2.4%-2.6% projection range by the Development Budget Coordination Committee for this year.

Core inflation, which discounted volatile prices of food and fuel, stood at 3.2% in November, picking up from three percent the previous month and 2.6% a year earlier. It averaged 3.1% so far this year.

“The annual increase of 4.3% in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages [from 2.1% in October] primarily pushed up the overall inflation in November 2020,” the PSA said in a statement.

The alcoholic beverages and tobacco index likewise contributed to the increase with a 12.3% year on year growth in November compared with 11.3% in October.

Inflation on food items likewise picked up to 4.5% in November from 2.1% the previous month.

Meanwhile, the November inflation for the bottom 30% of households picked up to 3.6% from 2.9% in October and 0.7% in November 2019. The inflation rate for this segment was the fastest since the 4.3% reading in February 2019. – Jobo E. Hernandez

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