As high demand pushed prices of basic goods upward at a faster pace during the Christmas season, inflation among poor families rose to a five-month high of 2.6 per cent in December last year.
For the entire 2019, the annual national inflation rate for bottom 30-per cent income households nonetheless slowed to an average of 3.2 per cent, down from 7.2 per cent in 2018, the latest Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data shows.
In 2019, price increases in the following indices were slower than in 2018: housing and repairs; food, beverages and tobacco; and fuel, light and water, the PSA said.
Prices hikes in the services, clothing and miscellaneous indices were recorded as higher in 2019 than in 2018, according to the PSA.
In December alone, inflation of food, beverages and tobacco rose by a faster 2.5 per cent year-on-year; services, up 3.1 per cent; and fuel, light and water, 3.2 per cent.
Specifically, the food index rose 1.3 per cent year-on-year last month from 0.4 per cent in November.
Last December, prices of fruits and vegetables rose 7.5 per cent year-on-year; fish, up 6.9 per cent; eggs, 6.4 per cent; miscellaneous foods, 2.7 per cent; meat, 1 per cent and corn, 0.9 per cent.
Prices of dairy products also increased 1.4 per cent year-on-year but slower than in the previous month. As for rice, prices continued to drop with a 5.4-per cent year-on-year decline posted in December.
National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa on Thursday said the PSA starting next month would use 2012 as the new base year in measuring the consumer price index (CPI) for bottom 30-per cent income households, similar to the base of headline and core inflation at present.
The PSA currently uses the year 2000 as base for the inflation rate among poor families.
It will also release the January headline inflation rate and CPI for bottom 30-per cent income households on February 5.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK