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NEWS UPDATES 6 October 2010

Philippine inflation slumps to 10-month low

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Consumer prices rose at their slowest pace in 10 months in September because of a drop in the inflation rate of all commodity groups, the government reported on Tuesday.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) said the September inflation rate eased to 3.5 percent from August's 4 percent. Inflation in September last year stood at 0.6 percent.

Last month's inflation was the lowest since the 2.8 percent recorded in November last year. The September figure is also below the low-end of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) forecast range of 3.6 percent to 4.5 percent for the month.

In the first nine months, the inflation averaged 4.1 percent or within the full year BSP target range of 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent. Excluding volatile food and energy items, core inflation eased to 3.8 percent in September from 4.2 percent in August.

The NSO attributed the decline in inflation to the price cuts in food items such as rice, corn, chicken, pork and vegetables along with lower charges for electricity rates in many regions.

"The general downward price adjustments in gasoline, diesel, and kerosene nationwide also contributed to the downtrend," the agency said.

In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga Jr. said that the lower generation charge of electricity contributed to the benign September inflation.

In a joint research note, First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) and University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) said monetary authorities will remain accommodative since economic growth is below the historical trend.

If the US economy weakens further, the Federal Reserve will likely consider additional easing steps, while the euro-zone has already delayed tightening, the report said.

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