MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Inflation eased to 2.5% in March 2020, as oil prices plummeted in the world market due to the novel coronavirus, said the Philippine Statistics Authority on Tuesday, April 7.
Easing of transportation costs to 1.8% during the month drove inflation down. Petroleum and fuels for personal transportation fell to -12.3% from 1.2% in February.
Domestic airfare dropped to 1.8% from 4.9% in February. Ferry and ship fares declined to 12.5% from 39.3%.
Kerosene (-13.%), electricity (-7.2%), and liquefied petroleum gas (3.2%) registered slowdowns as well.
Slower annual increments in alcoholic beverages and tobacco (18%); and housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels (1.1%) also pushed down inflation.
But food inflation inched up by 2.6%. Fish (1.5%), fruits (9.9%), and vegetables (8.1%) all registered higher annual markups.
Meat prices fell to 2.6% from 2.9% in February.
Bread and cereals, as well as pasta prices, slowed down to 2.6%, while milk, egg, and cheese retained their previous month's rate of 3.4%.
The National Capital Region's inflation rate decelerated to 1.7% from 2%, while areas outside the capital posted 2.7% from 2.8%.
Year-to-date, inflation stands at 2.7%.
However, falling prices do not necessarily mean a win for consumers this time around.
The Philippines started to implement lockdowns in March, halting almost all segments of the economy. Experts project a contraction of economic growth due to the virus. (READ: Farmers trash spoiled vegetables while poor go hungry)