DOF official pushes passage of warehouse receipts bill to stabilize commodity prices


The Department of Finance (DOF) said the passage of the Warehouse Receipts Bill would help the country attain food security and maintain stable commodity prices.

In an economic bulletin, DOF Chief Economist and Undersecretary Gil Beltran said storage facilities are important in keeping prices low and attaining food security.

Beltran explained that transportation infrastructure geographically links farms and markets, storage smoothens consumption across time and between seasons.

“Storage, especially cold storage facilities, are crucial in stabilizing food prices and help ensure food security. Once passed, the Warehouse Receipts Bill will usher in the professionalization of the warehousing sector and contribute to food security,” Beltran said.

He added that while inflation slowed in November, the month-on-month (M-o-M) increase in meat and fish prices should be addressed.

The DOF Chief Economist said it is also important to implement liberal import measures that will also help keep commodity prices stable, especially during the holidays.

“The high MOM inflation for meat and fish reminds authorities to adopt more liberal import measures to meet the peak demand during the holiday season,” he stressed.

DOF noted that the country’s headline inflation rate further decelerated to 4.2 percent in November, slowing down from 4.6 percent in October. Between January and November, DOF said headline inflation averaged 4.46 percent.

Food inflation eased to 4.15 percent in November from 5.65 percent in October with the deceleration in price inflation of meat (to 10.65 percent from 11.85 percent), fish (to 7.91 percent from 9.46 percent), and vegetables (to minus 1.85 percent from 11.39 percent). DOF said this more than offset the acceleration in non-food price inflation.

Non-food price inflation accelerated further to 4.1 percent in November from 3.85 percent in October, largely on account of utilities and fuels sub-group (to 12.32 percent from 11.13 percent) and the transport group (to 8.84 percent from 7.06 percent).

The Dubai crude oil price averaged $79.8 per barrel (bbl) in November, up from $42.58/bbl in the same month of last year although down from $81.22/bbl in October of this year. The October Dubai oil price was the highest since November 2014.

DOF also stated that on a monthly basis, the general price level increased by 0.69 percent due to food (1.1 percent from minus 0.15 percent). Meat prices also rose month-on-month by 2.41 percent as pork supply continues to fall below demand levels, while fish rose by 2.06 percent as the closed fishing season starts.

The data also showed non-food price inflation moderated month-on-month to 0.41 percent from 0.50 percent after oil prices peaked in October.

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