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Eastern Visayas closes 2019 with 1.5% inflation rate

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By Restituto Cayubit

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas closed 2019 with a 1.5 percent Inflation Rate (IR), according to the report from the Philippine Statistics Authority – Regional Statistical Service Office 8 (PSA-RSSO 8), based in this city.

FILE PHOTO: A view of a vegetable market in La Trinidad, Benguet in northern Philippines August 6, 2016. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

FILE PHOTO: A view of a vegetable market in La Trinidad, Benguet in northern Philippines August 6, 2016. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

Wilma A. Perante, regional director, PSA – RSSO 8 told Manila Bulletin that the IR was 0.9 percentage point higher compared to the 0.6 percent IR in November.

But it was 2.9 percentage points lower than the recorded 4.4 percent IR in the same period last year.

Perante reported that the regional IR is 1.0 percentage point lower than the 2.5 percent national average inflation rate in December 2019.

Perante also reported that all provinces in the region registered higher inflation rates in December 2019 compared with their figures in the previous month. Biliran recorded the highest increase of 2.2 percentage points, from 1.5 percent deflation in November 2019 to 0.7 percent IR in December 2019. The rest of the provinces registered increases ranging from 0.2 percentage point to 1.8 percentage points, she added.

The director said that Southern Leyte posted the lowest IR with 1.2 percent deflation. Leyte, meanwhile, recorded the highest IR during the month in review at 2.1 percent.

“Four commodity groups in the region exhibited higher IRs in December 2019 compared with their rates in November 2019. Transport commodity group registered the biggest increase of 3.1 percentage points, from 1.0 percent in November 2019 to 4.1 percent in December 2019,” she said.

She explained that this can be attributed to the significant increase in the index for operation of personal transport equipment to a double-digit inflation rate of 10.5 percent in December 2019 from 0.2 percent in November 2019.

The heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group rebounded to 0.2 percent in December 2019 from 1.0 percent deflation in November 2019.

Lower IRs were noted in fruits; oils and fats; non-alcoholic beverages; meat; and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery and were offset by the higher annual price increases in vegetables; fish; food products not elsewhere classified; and milk, cheese and eggs.

Vegetables index registered the highest increase of 2.8 percentage points, from 3.1 percent in November 2019 to 5.9 percent in December 2019. Rice and bread and cereals indices continued to register deflations but at slower rate of 6.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, she further reported.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels commodity group rebounded by 0.2 percent in December 2019 from its 0.8 percent deflation in November 2019. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco commodity group inched up by 0.1 percentage points pushing its inflation rate to 7.2 percent during the month in review, she added.

On the other hand, inflation rate for health commodity group decreased by 1.3 percentage points, from 2.9 percent in November 2019 to 1.6 percent in December 2019. This can be attributed to the lower inflation rate on hospital services, from 3.5 percent in November 2019 to 0.6 percent in December 2019, the director clarified.

IRs for the commodity groups of furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, and clothing and footwear also exhibited decreases during the reference month at 5.7 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, communication; recreation and culture; education; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services commodity groups retained their previous month’s inflation rates.

Perante declared that the Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region remained at P0.80 in December 2019. This PPP implies that goods and services worth P80.00 in 2012 is already worth P100.00 in December 2019.

Southern Leyte posted a P0.01 increase in PPP compared with its figure in November 2019, while Biliran and Eastern Samar’s PPP weakened by P0.01. The rest of the provinces sustained their PPP last month. Southern Leyte recorded the strongest PPP at P0.83. Biliran and Leyte ranked second at P0.82, followed by Eastern Samar at P0.76. Northern Samar and Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.75, she added.

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