|NEDA Director General Arsenio Balicasan (Interaksyon.com Photo)|
MAKATI CITY – Inflation rate was recorded at its lowest level last month at 0.4 percent, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), citing latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The NEDA attributed the latest drop to slow adjustments in the prices of food, power and oil, which helped ease inflation from 0.6 percent in August and 4.4 percent in the same period last year.
In a press statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said they expect this trend to continue towards the end of the year, given the state of oil prices in the international market.
“We expect the current low inflation environment exhibited in the first nine months of 2015 to persist throughout the rest of the year, more so, as international oil prices continue to remain low and are not expected to increase significantly in the near term,” he said in the statement.
Balisacan however noted that the government must remain wary of other upside risks to inflation in the coming months, such as the current El Niño episode that might affect the country’s agricultural output.
The NEDA director general also said that the government must ensure sufficient food supply by improving the level of inventories and efficiency of the distribution system.
“Continued monitoring of drought occurrence in agricultural areas is necessary to ensure timely policy actions, including importation of rice and other basic commodities to augment domestic supply,” Balisacan said.
He stated further that expanding agriculture support structures from production areas to the demand centers would help bring down the cost of transporting goods and services.
Balisacan also proposed to consider increasing the number of agricultural workers as beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to offset potential farm output losses as the drought continues.
The government, he said, must also ensure that access to financing in the agriculture and fisheries sectors remains unhampered.