Inflation slowed for the fourth consecutive month in May as transportation and food prices fell, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.
The 6.1-percent result, down from 6.6 percent in April but still higher than the year-earlier 5.4 percent, fell within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) 5.8 to 6.6 percent forecast for the month. It also matched the 6.1-percent median in a Manila Times poll of economists.
Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy items, slowed to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.
Year to date, headline inflation stood at 7.5 percent while core inflation was at 7.8 percent. It remained well over the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' 2.0- to 4.0-percent target.
"[T]he downtrend of the headline inflation in May 2023 was primarily brought about by the annual decline in the index of transport at -0.5 percent from 2.6 percent ... in the previous month," the PSA said in a statement.
"The heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages also pulled down the overall inflation during the month with a lower inflation rate of 7.4 percent from 7.9 percent in April 2023," it added.
"The third main source of deceleration for the May 2023 inflation was restaurants and accommodation services, which registered slower inflation at 8.3 percent from 8.6 percent in the previous month."
The PSA noted that higher inflation rates were also seen in the indices of furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance, which rose to 6.2 percent in May 2023 from 6.1 percent in April 2023.
Recreation, sport, and culture also increased to 4.9 percent in May from 4.7 percent in the previous month.
Food inflation at the national level eased to 7.5 percent in May from 8.0 percent in April. This was primarily due to lower annual growth in prices for fish and other seafood of 5.0 percent from 7.0 percent.
"This was followed by meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals with an inflation rate of 3.2 percent in May 2023 from 4.2 percent in the previous month," the PSA said.
"The third primary driver of slower food inflation was milk, other dairy products, and eggs, which recorded a lower inflation rate of 12.1 percent in May 2023 from 13.0 percent in the previous month," it added.
Inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) moderated to 6.5 percent from 7.1 percent due to a "slower year-on-year increment in the transport index at 1.1 percent during the month from 4.3 percent in April 2023."
Inflation in areas outside the NCR fell to 6.0 percent in May from 6.5 percent the previous month, also owing principally to an annual decline in the transport index of -0.8 percent from 2.3 percent in the previous month.
Source: Manila times