Recent weather disturbances and the lifting of the truck ban in the capital city are expected to have substantial impact on consumer prices this month, the central bank warned.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said that before releasing inflation data for September early next month, the BSP will have to assess the damage on agriculture by typhoon Luis and tropical storm Mario, which battered the country this month, as well the decision of the City of Manila to lift the truck ban.
“The Governor will issue the official BSP forecast of the September inflation. Both will be critical in assessing the outlook on inflation for September, though the lifting of the truck ban, as well as the recent typhoon, came rather late in September,” Guinigundo said in a text message to reporters over the weekend.
The central bank usually issues its monthly inflation forecast in the last week of every month, days before the Philippine Statistics Authority releases the official data.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Saturday estimated the combined agriculture damage by ‘Luis’ and ‘Mario’ at an initial P1.144-billion. However, it added that the figure was yet subject to field validation.
Guinigundo warned that if the combined impact of weather disturbances and the suspension of the truck ban proves substantial, “higher inflation pressure may be felt in October and beyond.”
Manila city on September 12 decided to end the implementation of the 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. truck ban to give way to national government efforts to decongest the capital city’s ports.
In August, headline inflation held steady at a year-on-year rate of 4.9 percent, unchanged from July but more than double the pace of 2.1 percent recorded in the same period last year.
For this year, the central bank has raised its inflation forecast to 4.5 percent from the previous forecast of 4.3 percent.
For 2015, the forecast has been adjusted upward to 3.8 percent from 3.7 percent and that for 2016 was lifted to 3 percent from 2.8 percent.