September 5, 2019
MANILA— The National Economic and Development Authority expects the Rice Liberalization Act to further bring down the price of rice as inflation slows down to its lowest rate in 35 months.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s headline inflation eased to 1.7 percent in August 2019, bringing the year-to-date inflation to 3.0 percent.
This is mainly due to slower price increases in food and non-alcoholic beverages (down to 0.6% in August 2019 from 1.9% in July), housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (1.8% from 2.2%), and transport (-0.2% from 0.7%).
This inflation outturn is well within Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast of 1.3 to 2.1 percent for the period and similar to the inflation rate in September 2016.
Rice deflation was also observed for the fourth consecutive month, reaching -5.2 percent in August 2019 from -2.9 percent in July.
“The Rice Liberalization Act (RLA) continues to help increase rice supply in the country. This allows more Filipinos to access cheaper rice. This is especially helpful since a large number of families spends almost 30 percent of their total food expenditure on rice,” NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning and currently Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Rosemarie G. Edillon said.
Domestic retail and wholesale price of rice is now lower compared to the price levels last year, down by 10-13 percent year-on-year or around PhP4.20-5.20/kilo. This is due to the higher inventory, increasing by 31.9 percent in July 2019.
“There is a need to fast-track the rollout of the programs and projects under the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund to support the farmers against dropping palay farmgate prices,” Edillon said.
The RLA, signed into law six months ago, aims to improve food security in the country, strengthen the rice industry, and promote a more competitive domestic rice market.
The NEDA official also noted that the agriculture sector remains at risk as the peak of the southwest monsoon or habagat is likely to persist until September.
Meanwhile, to mitigate the risk of African swine fever, the Department of Agriculture has also enforced quarantine procedures and biosecurity measures to control the spread of the animal disease.
Edillon also noted that the enactment of the Murang Kuryente Act is expected to bring down cost of electricity in the country in the coming months, coupled with muted outlook in global oil prices.