• ‘Yolanda’ to raise prices in Visayas

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    Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said on Friday that inflation or consumer prices may go up in the Visayas, as product shortages in the region became evident because of the disruptions brought about by the Super Typhoon Yolanda.

    Balisacan told reporters before his speech at the Philippine Economic Society 51st Annual Meeting that shortages caused by limited food supplies, access, supply disruptions because of connectivity and transport problems could push prices up in the Visayas region.

    “That could create some shortages that could push prices up. But we hope that would just be temporary. And as we are able to reconnect the areas, the operation of the market will normalize,” said Balisacan, who is also the National Economic and Development Authority director general.

    He also said that country’s nationwide inflation rates will likely to “stay at the same level” despite temporary possible price surges in the Visayas.

    On Friday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued its third quarter inflation report, saying that the country’s inflation decreased by 0.3 percent to 2.4 percent in third quarter compared to the 2.7 percent in second quarter, which is “slightly below the government’s inflation target range of 4 percent.”

    “This was due mainly to slower non-food inflation, owing to lower electricity rates. Inflation for most food items also declined, reflecting adequate domestic supply of corn, meat, fish, milk, fruits, vegetables and sugar,” the BSP said in a statement.

    The central bank said that core inflation went down to 2.2 percent because of absence of inflationary pressures. It added that consumer price index (CPI) sectors normally on above 5-percent inflation rates registered declines in the third quarter.

    The BSP further said that the domestic demand remained buoyant for the quarter, supported by household spending, capital formation, and solid gains of services sector.

    In connection to the increase of global climate risks and downsides, the BSP said that the general prospects for global growth “continue to be modest,” but for local financial markets, the central bank said that there would be lingering uncertainty over the possibility that the US Federal Reserve will cut down its bond-buying program.

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