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May inflation quickens to 3.5-year high

Growth in prices of widely used goods and services quickened to its fastest pace in over three years in May due to higher food and transport costs, the government reported this morning.

Headline inflation in May surged by 5.4% year on year from 4.9% in April and 4.1% a year ago, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

This matched the 5.4% median estimate in a BusinessWorld poll conducted late last week. It was also the midpoint and within the 5-5.8% forecast range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for that month.

May’s print was the fastest growth since the 6.1% print in November 2018.

Month on month, inflation picked up 0.4%.

Year to date, inflation averaged 4.1%, the same pace seen in the same period a year ago. This was lower than the central bank’s 4.6% inflation forecast and already well above the 2-4% target range.

Heavily weighted food and beverages grew 4.9% year on year in May from 3.8% in April. Transport likewise picked up 14.6% from 13%.

Meanwhile, inflation as experienced by the poor households, under 2012-based prices, increased 4.3% in May from 3.8% in April. However, it was lower than 4.5% in May last year. — M. I. U. Catilogo

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