Inflation steady at 3 percent in December

CONSUMER prices were unchanged in December amid costlier food and clothing, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Data from NSO showed that inflation rate in December went up by three percent, the same level as in November.

A year ago, inflation was 4.3 percent.

The December headline figure was within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) projection of between 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent.

The NSO attributed the steady prices in December to the slower prices in fuel, light and water (FLW), services and miscellaneous items index despite higher prices in food and clothing during holiday season.

The country’s average annual headline inflation rate for the year 2010 was 3.8 percent or within the BSP projection of 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

In 2009, inflation rate stood at 3.2 percent.

Excluding selected food and energy items, core inflation eased to 3.4 percent in December from 3.5 percent in November.

The annual average core inflation rate was 3.7 percent in 2010 from 4.1 percent in 2009.

The NSO said upward price adjustments in beef, chicken and meat products during the holiday season pushed up the meat index in the Philippines and National Capital Region by 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Prices for food alone continued to move upward at a rate of two percent for three consecutive months.

It added that the price of cereal preparations was higher at 3.2 percent in December; fish, 2.6 percent; and miscellaneous foods, 7.5 percent from 7.2 percent.

Slowdown in the annual price increment was, however, recorded in the eggs at 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent.

The annual price uptick in rice and dairy products index remained at their corresponding November rates of 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent while a negative annual rate was still seen in fruits and vegetables at -4.2 percent from -5.7 percent.

The NSO said inflation in Metro Manila slowed down to 3.4 percent in December from 3.6 percent in November brought about by the lower price in fuel and services.

The annual average inflation in the area for 2010 was four percent, higher by 2.4 percentage points than the 1.6 percent in 2009.

Prices in areas outside Metro Manila remained at 2.8 percent in December as higher annual price uptick in food, clothing and fuel was offset by the slower annual price hike in services.

The average inflation for the year at 3.7 percent was lower by 0.2 percentage point than the 3.9 percent registered in 2009. PNA

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