ARMM’s inflation rate remains highest in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 Oct) – The inflation rate in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) accelerated to 9% in September, the highest among five regions in Mindanao and the second highest in the country, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Friday showed.

The region’s inflation rate last month rose by 0.9 percentage points from 8.1% recorded in August. Bicol Region posted the highest inflation rate at 10.1% and the lowest was Central Luzon (4.5%).

Soccsksargen (8.2%) was the second highest in Mindanao, followed by Davao Region (7.9%), Zamboanga Peninsula (7.7%), Northern Mindanao (6.9%), and Caraga (6.1%).

The country’s inflation rate continued to increase to 6.7% in September from 6.4% in August, primarily caused by the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index which further accelerated to 9.7 percent in September 2018.

The inflation was slightly lower than the median market expectation of 6.8 percent and within the 6.3 to 7.1 percent forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the government’s economic team said in a joint statement issued on Friday.

The PSA said annual increases were also higher in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 21.8%; clothing and footwear, 2.5%; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, 3.6%; health, 4.1%; transport, 8%; communication, 0.5%; and recreation and culture, 3%.

But the PSA reported that the annual mark-up in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels index decelerated to 4.6 percent while education and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services sustained its annual figures of the previous month.

The government’s economic team assured the public that they are working swiftly to temper the rising inflation and to offer relief to the most affected consumers.

“We remain committed to our goal of ensuring price stability, along with our overarching aim of translating sustained broad-based economic growth to comfortable lives for everyone,” it said.

It added that prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages remain to be main inflation drivers, with supply disruptions caused by the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan, and Cordillera Autonomous Region put upward pressures on food prices.

The government claimed damages caused by the typhoon on agriculture, including facilities and infrastructure, amounted to P26.8 billion, keeping the price of the country’s staple grain higher despite the arrival of some imported rice and the improvement in the rice stocks of the National Food Authority.

The declaration of a state of calamity proposed in these regions through the President’s Proclamation No. 593 should provide some needed relief, it said.

But non-food inflation moderated to 4% in September from 4.1 percent in the preceding month while inflation in the National Capital Region also showed signs of easing, slowing down to 6.3 percent in September from the 7.0 percent in August.

“These clear signs of easing boost our confidence that inflation will taper off by year-end and go back to our target range by early next year. But we must couple this optimism with quick and focused actions in order to sustain gains made so far in keeping inflation in check,” it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)