Manila, Philippines – Inflation or the increase in the prices of goods showed no signs of slowing down as it jumped to 6.7% in September.
The latest figure, announced by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Friday, October 5, was higher than August’s 6.4% and the highest in more than 9 years, or since February 2009 when inflation was at 7.2%.
The Department of Finance (DOF) projected inflation to settle at just 6.4%, while the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) forecast 6.8%, with a range of 6.3% to 7.2%.
Economists and government agencies already expected inflation for September to rise due to Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) wiping out P26.7 billion worth of agricultural goods as well as oil price hikes for 8 consecutive weeks.
The Philippine peso was also being crushed, trading over P54 against the US dollar, placing further pressure on prices of goods.
The central bank raised interest rates 4 times this year, bringing the overnight reverse repurchase rate to 4.5% to protect the currency from speculative attacks.
Various think tanks and lenders, including the World Bank, have downgraded their growth outlook for 2018 due to stubbornly high inflation.
In a bid to ease inflation, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Administrative Order (AO) 13, removing non-tariff barriers in the importation of agricultural products.
The September Pulse Asia survey showed 51% of Filipinos disapprove of how the Duterte administration is handling the issue of high inflation, which remained their top urgent national concern.