Inflation in May slows to 6.1% as food, transport, energy prices decline


THE country’s headline inflation slowed to 6.1 percent in May 2023, the fourth consecutive decline for the year, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

PSA data showed that inflation slowed from 6.6 percent in April 2023 but was still higher than the 5.4 percent posted in May 2022. The rate in May 2023 was also the slowest in 12 months, when inflation in May 2022 was at 5.4 percent.

Meanwhile core inflation was at  7.7 percent, which is a drop from the 7.9 percent in April 2023. 

National Statistician Dennis Claire S. Mapa said, partly in Filipino, “We’re seeing a drop in core inflation. Perhaps there are just items under core inflation that are really hard to bring down. These are the items that are lesser in terms of volatility, and as we’ve been mentioning, we have made announcements on inflation in specific commodities like personal care – it’s really hard to bring these down.”

He added that they are “really monitoring those items that are non-food because the food items now, including transport, energy, have declined, but with non-food there are still items there that are really hard to bring down.”

Mapa said Transport and Food inflation were the main reasons for the slowdown in the May 2023 inflation.

For its part, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) assured the public that a “coordinate and proactive monitoring system” is in place to keep food and energy prices within the target range amid the further easing of the country’s inflation to 6.1 percent in May 2023.

“We are confident that we can achieve the government’s inflation target this year as we work closely with concerned government agencies in monitoring the primary drivers of inflation,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

On May 26, 2023, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Executive Order No. 28, creating the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO). This committee aims to enhance government coordination in managing inflation and mitigating the impact of rising commodity prices. 

The Neda chief added that the committee is keeping tabs not only of current trends and data on local and international prices, but also the level of domestic production, import arrivals, climate outlook, and other relevant supply and demand information for key commodities. 

“As the risks to the inflation outlook lean towards the upside due to potential increases in transport fares, wage adjustments, higher electricity rates, and domestic prices of key food items resulting from the impact of El Niño, the government is working to implement the necessary interventions as we aim to keep prices low and stable for Filipino consumers,” Balisacan said.

The 6.1 percent inflation for May 2023 is within the projection of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which said that “inflation for May could settle within the range of 5.8 percent to 6.6 percent” on the back of lower prices of oil, fish and chicken.

Image credits: Nonoy Lacza/BM