Inflation slows down to 6% in November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) — Inflation slowed down to 6 percent in November, the first decline this year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The rate eased from the plateau of 6.7 percent in October, which was the same growth in prices as the month before.

The November figure is double the three percent posted in the same period last year.

The PSA said top contributors to the slowdown are food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, and transport.

The National Capital Region recorded a 5.6 percent uptick in prices, slower than the 6.1 percent in the previous month.

The Bicol region continued to post the highest inflation in areas outside NCR at 8.9 percent, down from the 9.9 percent in October.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas projected a lower inflation rate for November, saying that it could settle within the 5.8 to 6.6 percent range. The Department of Finance (DOF) pegged it at 6.3 percent but Budget Secretary Ben Diokno said the figure would be lower than the DOF's projection.

The central bank linked the slowdown to recent back-to-back oil price rollbacks, a stronger peso and stable supply of rice and other agricultural products.

Comfort for the country's economic managers

In a joint statement, the government' economic team said they were pleased with the November inflation figure.

"It is comforting for us that the slowdown will alleviate the struggles of poor Filipinos, especially now that the holiday season is just around the corner," the statement read.

The team, however, said mitigating measures such as the administrative order easing the importation process of agricultural products should remain.

It also noted that the rice tarriffication bill, which has been approved by the bicameral conference commitee in Congress, would reduce rice prices.

The economic managers earlier said that inflation may have already peaked in September, citing lower prices of the Dubai crude oil.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee, composed of the economic team, also withdrew an earlier proposal to suspend the second tranche of additional fuel excise taxes in light of lower oil prices.