Policymakers have anticipated a spike in inflation rate following recent introduction of a new tax law.
In March, prices of heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 5.9 percent, much higher than a 4.8 percent rise in February. Also, cost rose at a faster pace for: alcoholic beverages and tobacco (18.6 percent from 16.8 percent); housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (2.9 percent from 2.7 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance (2.7 percent from 2.4 percent) and communication (0.3 percent from 0.2 percent). Meantime, inflation was steady for: clothing and footwear (2 percent); health (2.4 percent); recreation and culture (1.4 percent) and education (1.8 percent). Cost went up less for transport (4.6 percent from 5.3 percent) and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3 percent from 4.5 percent).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up by 0.6 percent, the same as a downwardly revised figure in a month earlier. Prices increased for: food (1.1 percent); alcoholic beverages & tobacco (2 percent); housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (0.6 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (0.5 percent); clothing & footwear (0.3 percent); health (0.4 percent), recreation and culture (0.1 percent), education (0.2 percent) and restaurants and miscellaneous goods and services (0.5 percent). On the other hand, cost fell for transport (-0.3 percent).
Previously in March 2018, Philippine Statistics Authority decided to rebased CPI series to 2012 from 2006 in order to accommodate the economic changes in the country.
For 2018, the central bank set an inflation target range of between 2 to 4 percent.