Inflation eased for the third straight month in November to its lowest level in four months but continues to be above the government’s forecast for the year. 

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data released earlier this morning showed headline inflation at 4.2% in November – the lowest since July’s 4%.  

The result was also down from 4.6% in October, but still higher compared with the 3.3% print in November 2020.  

The latest reading, which was higher than the median estimate of 4% in a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week, fell beyond the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 3.3%-4.1% forecast range for November.  

The downtrend in the overall inflation was primarily brought about by the slowdown in the inflation for the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index which slid at 3.9% during the month, from 5.3% in October 2021. In addition, lower inflation was also recorded in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 7.5% [from 9.8% in October], and furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house at 2.4% [from 2.5%],” the PSA said in a statement.  

Inflation has so far averaged 4.5% for the year. This was higher than the BSP’s forecast of 4.3% for 2021, as well as its 2-4% target band for the year.  

Food inflation registered at 4.1% in November compared with 5.6% in October and 4.5% last year.  

Core inflation, which excludes items such as food and energy that are prone to volatile price swings, inched down to 3.3% from 3.4% in October. This was, however, still faster than last year’s 3.2%. 

Meanwhile, inflation for the bottom 30% income households logged in at 4.2% in November. This was slower than the previous month’s 4.8%, but still faster than the 3.6% print in November 2020.  

From January to November, the bottom 30% inflation averaged 4.8%. 

The consumer price index (CPI) for the bottom 30% modifies the model basket of goods to reflect the spending patterns of the poor. This is compared with the headline CPI which measures inflation as experienced by the average household.  — Lourdes O. Pilar

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