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Government ready to import food to tame inflation

The government is ready to order the implementation of food imports to tame the country’s inflation.

The assurance was made after data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that inflation rate jumped to a 20-month high of 3.3 percent in November from 2.5 percent in October.

Higher transport and food prices following a series of typhoons that affected farm harvests are the top contributors to November inflation.

“It is sad, but it is the result of things that we cannot control such as a series of typhoons that have devastated our crops which is why the price of our goods has increased especially that in food and transportation),” Presidetntial Spokesman Harry Roque said.

Roque, however, said the inflation rate, which averaged 2.6 percent in the first 11 months, is within the government’s target range of two percent to four percent, but slightly higher than 2.5 percent in 2019.

“Well, it is still within our target of between two percent to four percent ang inflation rate of 3.3 percent,” he said.

He, meanwhile, assured that the government could step up food imports to reduce inflation.

“But do not worry, if it is necessary to import to lower the price of food, we will do that but of course we balance that because it cannot be too low because our farmers will be affected if the price of our agricultural products is too low,” he said.

According to the PSA, food inflation picked up further to 4.5 percent last month from 2.1 percent in October and -0.2 percent in the same month last year.

The prices of vegetables and meat increased year-on-year by 14.6 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.

Inflation for transport services increased 7.6 percent in November, a reversal of -2.4 percent in the same month last year, but slightly lower than 7.9 percent seen last October.

Recent typhoons also brought billions of pesos worth of damage to the agriculture sector.