Philippines' inflation accelerates to 2.5% in June; Covid-19 cases surging

  • Philippines
  • Tuesday, 07 Jul 2020

A train passenger has her body temperature taken before boarding a bus at a train station in Manila on Tuesday (July 7) after authorities suspended operation of one of the train lines after some of its staff tested positive of Covid -19 disease. - AFP

MANILA, July 7 (Xinhua): The Philippines' inflation went up to 2.5 per cent in June this year after four consecutive months of deceleration, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Tuesday.

In May 2020, inflation was posted at 2.1 percent and in June 2019 at 2.7 percent.

"The main source of the upward trend in June 2020 inflation was the annual increase in the transport index, specifically double-digit annual high was recorded in the index of tricycle fare," PSA head Claire Dennis Mapa said in an online briefing.

Mapa said tricycle fares in June increased by 26 pe rcent across the country to an estimated P17 per passenger from P12 previously, while in the capital city of Manila alone, tricylce fares rose by 43.7 per cent month-on-month, and 129.3 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

Public transport was suspended since March when many parts of the country have been put under varying degrees of lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic, and was only reallowed on June 1 albeit on a limited basis.

PSA data showed annual increases in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 18.5 per cent; and in housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels; and communication, both at 0.4 per cent, also pushed up the June inflation.

Meanwhile, the PSA said annual mark-ups slowed down in the indices of commodity groups during the period such as food and non-alcoholic beverages at 2.7 per cent; recreation and culture, 1.2 per cent; education, 1.6 per cent; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services, 2.3 per cent.

Indices of the rest of the commodity groups such as clothing and footwear; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; and health were the same as their previous month's annual growth rates, the PSA added.

Core inflation -- which excludes selected volatile food and energy items to measure underlying price pressures -- likewise, recorded a higher annual gain of 3.0 per cent in June 2020, the PSA said.

In the previous month, the PSA said core inflation was noted at 2.9 per cent, while in the same month of 2019, it was 3.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 47,873 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,540 new cases on Tuesday.

The DOH said that the number of recoveries further rose to 12,386 after 201 more patients have survived the disease.

The death toll also increased to 1,309 after six more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH said.

According to the DOH, 619 of the daily reported cases were in Metro Manila, 174 cases in the Central Visayas region in the central Philippines and 747 cases were reported in other parts of the country.

The Philippines has been witnessing rapid increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past several days.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH expects the number of confirmed cases to increase in the coming days due to clustering and community transmission, not improved testing anymore.

"These numbers that we are having right now should make people more cautious. This is not just because we are testing more but because there are really clustering of cases that we have been identifying for these past days," Vergeire said.

"There is really community transmission. This is not just because we are testing more, but this is really a result of community transmission," she further said. - Xinhua
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