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Feb. inflation fastest in 25 months

The overall year-on-year increase in prices of widely used goods picked up for the fifth straight month in February by its fastest pace in 25 months, the government reported this morning.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed headline inflation at 4.7% last month, picking up from 4.2% in January 2021 and 2.6% in February 2020.

The February inflation result marked the fastest pace in 25 months or since the 5.1% in December 2018.

The latest headline figure is lower than the 4.8% median in a BusinessWorld poll conducted late last week but falls within the 4.3%-5.1% estimate given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for February.

Year to date, inflation settled at 4.5%, beyond the BSP’s 2-4% target for the year.

Core inflation, which discounted volatile prices of food and fuel, stood at 3.5% in February, picking up from 3.4% the previous year and 3.2% a year earlier. It averaged 3.5% so far this year.

“The uptrend in the country’s inflation was mainly brought about by the uptick in the inflation of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 6.7% during the month, from 6.1% in January 2021,” the PSA said in a statement.

The food alone index accelerated to seven percent in February from 6.6% the previous month and 2.1% a year ago.

Similarly, the February inflation rate for the bottom 30% of households picked up to 5.5% from 4.9% in January 2021 and 2.1% in February 2020. The inflation rate for this segment was the fastest since the 6.3% reading in December 2018. — Lourdes O. Pilar

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