• Inflation rises to 2.9% in Oct.

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    The Philippine annual headline inflation further rose to 2.9 percent in October from the previous month’s 2.7 percent.

    Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that September inflation went up because of the uptrend in the prices of heavily weighted food and nonalcoholic beverages, and clothing and footwear. Inflation a year ago was 3.2 percent.

    Meanwhile, annual rate in Metro Manila remained at 1.1 percent in October from a 0.1 percent, as it was affected by the “mixed movements” in the annual growths among the commodity groups.

    Food and nonalcoholic beverages indices recorded a higher annual rate while the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; and health registered slowdowns.

    “The indices for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels and transport had negative rates while the rest of the commodity groups retained their previous month’s rate,” the NSO data stated

    In areas outside Metro Manila, annual inflation moved faster at 3.4 percent in October from 3.1 percent in September, as indices of food and nonalcoholic beverages; ages; clothing and footwear; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; and recreation and culture effected posted higher annual growth.

    Furthermore, the NSO data said that core annual inflation picked up to 2.5 percent in October from 2.3 percent in September.

    On a monthly basis, the country’s consumer prices slowed down to 0.1 percent in October from 0.6 percent in September, resulting from the lower charges in electricity rates together with price decreases in kerosene in many regions.

    Contributing also to the downtrend were the price reductions in corn, cooking oil and selected in-season fruits in Metro Manila, and some condiments and seasonings in many regions in areas outside Metro Manila

    “Moreover, price increases in rice slowed down during the month due to the on-going harvest season of palay [unmilled rice],” the NSO said.

    Inflation turn out for October was within the 2.8-percent to 3.6-percent forecast range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for the month. It was also lower than the 3-percent to 5-percent target band of the BSP for 2013.

    “Remember our projection is 2.8 to 3.6 percent, in other words, the actual 2.9 for October was right within the forecast range, in fact closer to the lower end,” according to BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo.

    He added that the monetary authority recognizes the impact of the natural calamities in inflation targeting, noting the typhoons that battered the country and the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu.

    “But we believe as we emphasized earlier on that this is going to be ward off hopefully by November and December, the price pressures would have subsided and we don’t expect the price pressures that we saw in October to slide down to November and December,” he said.

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