UPDATE: PH inflation picks up to 1.1% in Nov on higher food prices

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INFLATION accelerated to 1.1 percent in November, the biggest rise in five months, in line with the central bank’s view that the slowdown in consumer prices had bottomed out following a run of record lows.

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An analyst said the result, a sharp rise from October’s 0.4 percent but still below the 3.7 percent recorded in November last year, was unlikely to prompt the Monetary Board to adjust policy rates next week.

It fell within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ 0.4 percent to 1.2 percent forecast range but exceeded the 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent seen in a poll of private analysts. November inflation also exceeded the 0.8 percent projection of the Department of Finance.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, increased to 1.8 percent from 1.5 percent in October but was still lower than the 2.7 percent recorded a year earlier.

Year-to-date, the rise in consumer prices averaged 1.4 percent, below the central bank’s target of 2 percent to 4 percent. Core inflation averaged 2 percent during the period.

“The growth was primarily due to the higher annual rate in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index as it advanced by 1.7 percent from a previous month’s growth of 0.7 percent,” the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Friday.

Faster annual increments were also registered in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; health; transport; recreation and culture; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services, it added.

“As anticipated, inflation had bottomed out in October with credit and domestic liquidity growth rates also stabilizing, these signal that our stance of policy right now is appropriate,” central bank Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a text message to reporters.

That said, Tetangco said monetary authorities would remain watchful of developments, particularly actions by advanced economies.

Citing the European Central Bank’ decision to cut rates a bit shallower than anticipated, he said: “We will see how the balance of this, [a]possible US lift-off this month and further moves from Chinese authorities would impact on domestic price and growth dynamics.”

MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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