Economist-congressman Joey Salceda gave a rather bleak outlook for food inflation in the country for the rest of the year, but cited a potential silver lining when it comes to fuel prices.
"Food inflation continues to be on a rapid momentum, from 4.9 percent in May, to 6.0 percent in June to 6.9 percent in July," said Salceda, Albay's 2nd district representative, after seeing the inflation figures for last month.
"While there are indications that the momentum is shifting, if all indications are correct, every month will continue to have higher year-on-year inflation than the previous month," the House Committee on Ways and Means chairman predicted.
"I maintain my projections that monthly inflation this 2022 could peak to as high as 8.5 percent, and annual average inflation could reach 6.0 percent," Salceda said.
But he said that he is seeing the opposite trend when it comes to fuel. "Fuel price inflation, on the other hand, is beginning to slow down."
"This could indicate that the world is starting to adjust to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and alternative sources or modes of purchase are being undertaken by various market participants. Barring any major developments, I expect fuel price inflation to slow down even further to below 5 percent by November," he said.
"However, we must cautiously watch this development, particularly given the resumption of full face-to-face classes by around the same month," Salceda said.
"Transport prices remain elevated and accelerating, although the momentum also appears to have slowed down. I expect transport inflation to remain below 20 percent at least until September," the number-crunching solon further said.
The Bicolano said the most important concern of the government "will remain food security, food sufficiency, and food prices".
"I have strongly recommended to the House leadership that we take up the Bayan Bangon Muli special powers bill that I filed even without the appropriations component, to ensure that the President has the latitude to manage price, supply, and logistics bottlenecks," he said.
"I am also convinced that, in this context, adjustments in monetary policy can be used only to adjust to global conditions, but they are no substitutes to supply and price solutions in the real economy," Salceda added.