Gov't hits target with slower 3.8% inflation in February

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — Philippine inflation further slowed to 3.8 percent in February 2019, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Tuesday.

The deceleration of inflation in February — from 4.4 percent in January — was mainly driven by food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and transport.

This is the slowest rate of increase in prices of basic goods in a year. This is also the first time the government hit its 2-4 percent inflation target after a year.

"Just as we thought, inflation is decelerating. 3.8% for February beats most forecasts. This gives us confidence that our medium term inflation forecast ranging 2-4% is appropriate," newly-appointed Central Bank Governor Ben Diokno said.

This is the fourth consecutive month that inflation slowed after an episode of a higher-than-usual inflation last year. The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law has been blamed for the price spikes last year, which peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October.

Malacañang welcomed what it called the "predicted" drop in inflation, attributing it to the relentless efforts of the government to lower the prices of basic goods.

"The Palace welcomes this positive development as proof that the macroeconomic policies of the Duterte administration have been effective in addressing soaring prices. We expect further improvement and disinflation," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.