MANILA, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Year-on-year inflation in the Philippines slowed further to 6.1 percent in May from 6.6 percent in April due to lower transport and food costs, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Tuesday.
"This is the fourth consecutive month of deceleration in the headline inflation in the country," PSA head Dennis Mapa told a news conference.
The PSA data showed inflation rate in May 2022 was still lower at 5.4 percent. The average inflation rate from January to May this year stood at 7.5 percent.
Mapa said the main drivers that pulled down the inflation rate in May were transport, which declined to -0.5 percent from 2.6 percent in April; food and non-alcoholic beverages, which dropped to 7.4 percent from 7.9 percent in April; and restaurants and accommodation services, which slowed to 8.3 percent from 8.6 percent in the previous month.
Meanwhile, Mapa said core inflation, excluding selected food and energy items in the headline inflation, slowed to 7.7 percent in May from 7.9 percent in April.
"We are confident that we can achieve the government's inflation target this year as we work closely with concerned government agencies in monitoring the primary drivers of inflation," National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
Aside from slower food and transportation inflation that contributed to the steady slowdown in May, Balisacan said fish and eggs prices eased due to increased local production. The decline in international prices of wheat and dairy also contributed to the slower inflation, he added.
According to Balisacan, as risks to inflation outlook lean toward the upside due to potential increases in transport fares, wage adjustments, higher electricity rates, and domestic prices of key food items resulting from the impact of El Nino, the government is working to implement necessary interventions as the country aims to keep prices low and stable.
For short-term measures, Balisacan stressed the need to fill local supply gaps through timely importation, ensure sufficient rice buffers during El Nino, and strengthen biosecurity.
Balisacan also said that the government's economic team will announce this week the slower inflation target for this year.
The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecasts inflation in the Philippines to average 6.2 percent in 2023 before easing to 4 percent in 2024.