Puerto Princesa City and the province of Palawan experienced a decrease in inflation rates from June to July, a positive trend that indicates the prices of goods and services increased at a slower pace, thereby preserving consumers’ purchasing power.

The city’s inflation fell from 4.2 percent to 2.9 percent, and Palawan’s rate went down from 6.9 percent to 5.4 percent.

Maria Lalaine Rodriguez, chief statistical specialist of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in Palawan, reported Friday that the fall in inflation rates is beneficial to customers since it means that prices did not rise as swiftly in July as they did in June.

She said it means that consumers’ buying power is preserved to a greater extent, allowing them to purchase more goods and services for the same money.

“Kapag mas marami syempre ang bumibili, kung marami ang supply, bumababa ang presyo. Pero kapag konti ang supply natin, tataas ang presyo ng bilihin—isa yon sa nakaka cotribute sa paggalaw ng presyo ng ating commodity,” she said.

Puerto Princesa City
The inflation in the city in July 2023 decreased to 2.9 percent, down from 4.2 percent in June 2023. A year prior, in July 2022, the inflation was considerably higher at 9.3 percent. For the initial seven months of the year, the average inflation rate was 5.1 percent.

The primary reason for the decrease in inflationwas that the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which play a significant role in calculating inflation, rose slower. They increased by only 2.7 percent compared to a rise of 5.0 percent in June.

Prices for housing-related costs, such as water, electricity, gas, and other fuels, also contributed to the inflation decrease. These costs rose by a smaller 0.7 percent, down from a 1.3 percent increase the previous month.

The third driver to the slow down was transport, which exhibited an annual decline of -3.8 percent from -3.0 percent last month.

“Ang nakaapekto sa commodity group ng transport ay ang pamasahe sa barko. Dahil bumaba siya ngayon, at nag verify kami nyan sa 2GO, ay dahil off season ngayon kaya nagbababa sila ng pamasahe mula July hanggang October. Then tataas nanaman sila pagdating ng October kasi mag-uuwian ang mga estudyante, hanggang June na uli kasi sakop na yong balik uli sa Manila ng estudyante and then yong ating mga tourist,” Rodriguez said.

Clothing and footwear had a 6.3 percent drop, followed by an 11.2 percent decrease in restaurants and accommodation services. Personal care items, along with goods and services, were down by 6.4 percent, while the health sector experienced a 2.6 percent decline.

Asked if ukay-ukay or used clothing is part of a fixed set of goods and services that is used for consistent comparison over time, Rodriguez replied that it is not typically used to track and measure the price changes of the items in the basket.

“Wala tayong commodity about yong mga used clothing, hindi sila kasama sa ating market basket,” she said.

Indices for furnishings, equipment, and maintenance fell by 7 percent, and information and communication saw a 0.7 percent downturn. The sport and culture segment had an 8.6 percent decrease.

In food, the sugar, confectionery, and dessert sector had an 18.1 percent drop. The bread and pasta aisles registered an 8.8 percent decline, and foods experienced a 4.1 percent dip. Oils and fats had a 2.7 percent decrease, and the fruit and nut section was down by 3.8 percent.

On the other hand, the index for alcoholic beverages and tobacco reported a faster annual increase, rising to 12.9 percent from 12.3 percent the previous month. Meanwhile, both education and financial services maintained their inflation rates at 0.0 percent, consistent with the prior month.

In July 2023, the rate at which food prices increased decelerated to 2.1 percent. This is a decrease from the 4.5 percent inflation rate seen in the month before. A year earlier in July 2022, food inflation was much higher, standing at 14.4 percent. This means that while food prices are still rising in 2023, they are doing so at a much slower pace than the same time last year.

Lower indices were observed in a range of commodities, signalling a decrease in market values. clothing and footwear saw a decline of 6.3 percent, while Restaurants and Accommodation Services dipped by 11.2 percent. Personal Care, along with Miscellaneous Good and Services, fell by 6.4 percent, and Health saw a reduction of 2.6 percent.

The decline extended into furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance at 7.0 percent, and recreation, sport, and culture at 8.6 percent. Interestingly, information and communication showed a negative growth at -0.7 percent.

Furthermore, the food sector also experienced declines with Sugar, Confectionery, and Desserts at 18.1 percent; Flour, Bread, Other Bakery Products, Pasta Products, and Other Cereals at 8.8 percent; Ready-made Food and Other Food Products not elsewhere classified at 4.1 percent; Oils and Fats at a decrease of 2.7 percent; and Fruits and Nuts at 3.8 percent.

Rodriguez reported too that some commodities did see an increase. The higher upticks were observed in Vegetables, Tubers, Plantains, Cooking Bananas, and Pulses at 11.0 percent; Milk, Other Dairy Products, and Eggs at 8.1 percent; and Corn at 0.6 percent.

These fluctuations reflect broader trends in consumer behavior and economic conditions.

The inflation rate in the province of Palawan dipped to 5.4 percent in July 2023, down from 6.9 percent in June 2023. In July 2022, the inflation rate was higher at 10.1 percent. The average inflation rate for the first seven months of the year stood at 7.4 percent.

The provincial inflation declined in July 2023, primarily driven by a reduction in the annual increase in food and non-alcoholic beverages to 8.0 percent inflation rate, down from 10.5 percent in June 2023.

Transport followed, with its inflation further decreasing to -6.4 percent from -4.6 percent the previous month.

Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels also contributed to the slowdown, posting a slight decline in inflation from 1.4 percent to 1.2 percent.

Other commodity groups showing downtrends included clothing and footwear at 8.3 percent, personal care and miscellaneous goods and services at 7.1 percent, Furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance at 6.3 percent, alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 9.8 percent, and information and communication at 1.5 percent.

Most other commodity groups retained their previous month’s annual inflation rates, except recreation, sport, and culture, which increased to a 10.7 percent inflation rate from 10.5 percent.

The food index in Palawan specifically slowed down to an 8.0 percent inflation rate in July 2023, from 10.6 percent the previous month, and was significantly lower than the 15.0 percent inflation rate in July 2022. This deceleration was caused by lower increments in the indices of fish and other seafood, with a drop to -0.6 percent inflation from 14.0 percent, and sugar, confectionery, and desserts with a notable annual decline of 22.5 percent inflation from 36.5 percent in June 2023.

Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals also contributed to the downtrend with a modest 0.3 percent inflation rate, down from 4.0 percent. Additionally, vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses at 9.2 percent, flour, bread, and other bakery products, pasta products and other cereals at 11.3 percent, food products not elsewhere classified at 6.2 percent, and oils and fats at -1.8 percent all contributed to the decline.

Meanwhile, the inflation rates for milk, other dairy products and eggs were 11.5 percent, and there were higher rates observed in rice at 13.0 percent, fruits and nuts at 4.5 percent, and corn at 13.3 percent.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.