Diokno: Inflation has peaked, prices to go down

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 5) — Inflation may have already peaked this September, according to one of government's economic managers.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, in an interview with CNN Philippines' Business Roundup, said economic managers of the Duterte administration believe that inflation has peaked in the third quarter of the year and is on its way down.

"That's our position, that it has peaked this quarter and we expect the inflation rate in the fourth quarter to be much less at 6.3. Inflation could be down to the normal level next year," Diokno said.

Inflation, which reached a nine-year high at 6.7 percent in September, was driven by high prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

READ: Food, non-alcoholic drinks trigger inflation surge for 9th straight month

Diokno blamed the National Food Authority (NFA) for the high price of rice, a Filipino food staple.

"The peak of the inflation, there was a major contributor which was a mistake by NFA. They had 4.6 million sacks of rice and they did not release it to the market," Diokno said, adding that the money they had given to the agency was used to pay loans instead of buying palay (unmilled rice).

With President Rodrigo Duterte signing the executive order meant to address food inflation, Diokno said that inflation could taper off in the months to come.

"Moving ahead, that can be a big factor in limiting the high prices of food products," Diokno said.