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‘Unexpected’ inflation rates to dampen economic growth: Secretary Pernia

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According to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, the latest inflation figure was “unexpected” and may dampen economic growth prospects for the second quarter.

Preliminary results from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed prices for widely used goods increasing 5.2% in June, faster than 4.6% recorded in May and 2.5% in June 2017.

“I myself was hoping that it would not breach five percent… inflation always dampens the growth,” Mr. Pernia said in a media briefing yesterday.

“There may have been a little bit of a slip in timing in increasing the policy rates,” he added. “We’re hoping that the peaking has happened already.”

NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon explained that local inflation is being boosted by “imported inflation,” due to the rise in global fuel prices.

Her agency said that they are addressing rising inflation rates by speeding up the unconditional cash transfers for the bottom 50 percent of applicant families, as well as the Pantawid Pasada cash transfer program.

NEDA is also strongly banking on the passage of the rice tariffication law and the nation’s infrastructure programs.

While these may help buffer the effects of rising inflation for beneficiaries, Mr. Pernia commented that it’s “freebies” such as free education and free irrigation programs that may have contributed to faster inflation. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan