NEDA assures stable food prices amid ECQ

Published August 6, 2021, 1:40 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government is ensuring stable and affordable food prices amid the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and stricter quarantines throughout the country.

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In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the government will continue to proactively manage any threats to the country’s food security, especially during the ECQ period from August 6 to 20.

On Thursday, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the headline inflation rate decreased from 4.1 percent in June to 4.0 percent in July 2021. Year-to-date inflation remained at 4.4 percent.

Overall food inflation slightly increased from 4.9 percent in June to 5.1 percent in July. In particular, fish inflation accelerated from 8.7 percent to 9.3 percent due to Typhoon Fabian which affected regional port operations.

Vegetable inflation also turned positive from -2.7 percent to 5 percent due to the flooding caused by the heavy south monsoon rains.

On the other hand, pork inflation, which has been the main driver of inflation in 2021 due to the outbreak of the African swine fever, fell from 49 percent in June to 38.4 percent in July. This contributed to the slower meat inflation of 16 percent in July.

Average rice prices also continue to decrease with rice inflation at minus one percent.

“We are now seeing the benefits of Executive Orders 133 and 134. We expect pork prices to go down further in the second half of the year as more imports come in through the increased minimum access volume allocation and lower tariffs,” Chua said.

To manage fish inflation and ensure stable fish supply, the Department of Agriculture will fast-track the issuance of the certificate of necessity to import fish to cover the domestic demand gap during the closed fishing season starting October.

Meanwhile, non-food inflation slowed down from 3.4 percent in June to 3.2 percent in July. One of the main drivers was the decrease in transport inflation from 9.6 percent to 7.0 percent as mobility in the country continued to improve.

However, with the emergence of the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, the government has prioritized saving lives and managing the risks from COVID-19 through heightened restrictions in high-risk areas from August 6 to 20, 2021.

“While the ECQ is expected to slow down economic activities in August, this is an investment towards a strong recovery in 2021. We encourage everyone to use this time to get vaccinated, so we can safely reopen the economy once we have contained the spread of the Delta variant,” Chua said.

 
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