THE country’s inflation rate slightly slowed down to 8.6 percent in February 2023, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

February’s inflation rate is a bit lower than the 8.7 percent recorded in January but more than doubled as compared to the same period in 2022 which was three percent. It is within the projected range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which is from 8.5 to 9.3 percent.

“The average inflation rate for the first two months of the year stood at 8.6 percent,” the PSA said.

The agency said the decrease was driven solely by transport, among the 13 commodity groups, recording a 9.0 percent inflation rate from 11.1 percent in February.

The following commodity groups showed higher inflation rates:

* Food and non-alcoholic beverages, 10.8 percent

* Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 11.0 percent

* Clothing and footwear, 4.8 percent

* Furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance, 6.2 percent

* Health, 4.0 percent

* Information and communication, 0.8 percent

* Recreation, sport and culture, 4.4 percent

* Restaurants and accommodation services, 8.1 percent

* Personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services, 5.3 percent

Indices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, as well as education services moved at their previous month’s annual rates and went up to 8.6 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, while the financial services index continued to record zero percent annual rate.

The food inflation also slightly slowed down to 11.1 percent in February from 11.2 percent in January.

“The downtrend in the food inflation was mainly brought about by the lower year-on-year growth in the index of vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses at 33.1 percent in February 2023, from 37.8 percent in January 2023,” the PSA said.

“In addition, the rice index increased at a lower rate of 2.2 percent during the month, from 2.7 percent in January 2023. Moreover, slower year-on-year growth rates were observed in the indices of the following food groups during the month: corn, 12.6 percent; meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals, 6.5 percent; oils and fats, 17.3 percent; and sugar, confectionery and desserts, 37.0 percent,” it added.

The PSA said higher annual increases were observed in the following food groups:

* Flour, bread and other bakery products, pasta products, and other cereals, 11.7 percent

* Fish and other seafood, 9.9 percent

* Milk, other dairy products and eggs, 13.1 percent

* Fruits and nuts, 11.5 percent

* Ready-made food and other food products not elsewhere classified, 9.8 percent

The agency said core inflation also rose to 7.8 percent from 7.4 percent in January and only 1.9 percent during the same period last year.

Inflation is the rate of the increase of prices of consumer goods and services at a certain period of time.

Earlier, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. expressed confidence that with the interventions being implemented by his administration, inflation will start to come down in the first quarter of the year and continue to return to normalcy within the year. (SunStar Philippines)