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Metro Manila retail price growth slowest in five months in July

RETAIL PRICE growth of general goods in the National Capital Region eased to its slowest pace in five months in July, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday. 

The general retail price index (GPRI) registered a 1.8% growth in July, decelerating from the 2% rise in June but faster than the 1.5% a year ago. 

The July performance marked the slowest in five months or since the 1.6% annual growth recorded in February.  

Metro Manila’s retail price growth averaged 1.9% so far this year, faster than the 1.2% average in 2020’s comparable seven months. 

The PSA attributed the downtrend mainly to the lower year-on-year growth in the prices of beverages and tobacco at 6.9% in July versus 9% in June. 

The GRPI also posted slowdowns in the subindices of food (1.7% in July from 1.9% in June); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (13% from 13.6%); chemicals, including animal and vegetable oils and fats (0.8% from 0.9%); machinery and transport equipment (0.3% from 0.4%); and miscellaneous manufactured articles (0.3% from 0.4%). 

Price growth in crude materials, inedible except fuels; and manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials retained their previous month’s annual growth rates of 1.6% and 1.0%, respectively. 

“The drop in GRPI is to be expected with economic activity on the downtrend…,” ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said in an e-mail interview. 

Mr. Mapa said the deceleration of GRPI is in stark contrast with the pickup in the CPI (consumer price index) basket, which can be traced to the composition of the two baskets. 

“The most common item in both baskets are food and beverage which both comprise the lion’s share of the GRPI and CPI baskets and these items have seen a stark pickup in price pressures of late, driving overall headline print close to 5%.  Thus, we can surmise that despite the stark pickup in food inflation, the GRPI remains much slower than CPI inflation as the price of all other items (crude materials, chemicals, manufactured goods, machinery and miscellaneous articles) are all on the downtrend,” Mr. Mapa explained. 

“This decline in price pressure for these other items can be traced directly to the economic recession that the Philippines continues to endure.  With the Philippines not likely to exit from recession soon, we could see GRPI and CPI diverge for the balance of the year,” he added

WHOLESALE PRICES ALSO DOWN 

In a separate report by the PSA, the general wholesale price index (GWPI) posted a 2.2% growth in June — the slowest since the 2.1% growth rate posted in January.  

Driving the June outcome were moderating price increases in food (0.5% from 2.2% in May); beverages and tobacco (4.1% from 6.3%); crude materials, inedible except fuels (39.2% from 44.9%); mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials (15.9% from 18.7%); chemicals including animal and vegetable oils and fat (5.7% from 5.9%); and manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (0.8% from 0.9%). 

In contrast, the subindices of machinery and transport equipment and miscellaneous manufactured articles picked up to 0.9% and 3.0%, respectively, from 0.8% and 0.7% in May.  

Of the three major island groups, only Mindanao saw a pickup in general prices as its GWPI rose by 4.8% from 4.2% the month before. 

Meanwhile, wholesale prices in Luzon and the Visayas eased by 2.1% (from 3.0%) and 0.4% (from 0.8%), respectively. — Abigail Marie P. Yraola 

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