Manila: Rice inflation in the Philippines soared to a 14-year high in September, indicating limited impact of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s price cap on the staple grain.
Price gains of the grain quickened to 17.9 per cent year-on-year last month from 8.7 per cent in August, boosting overall inflation beyond economists’ expectations in a Bloomberg survey. That’s even after Marcos ordered in early September to cap rice prices amid supply shocks and reported hoarding locally.
“The results were mixed on the compliance,” National Statistician Dennis Mapa said during a briefing on Thursday. Only a fifth of prices gathered by the statistics agency last month were in line with the cap of 45-peso a kilo for well-milled rice, he said.
Marcos, who’s also the agriculture chief, removed the price cap on Wednesday, noting that rice prices are declining as harvest starts and the global outlook improves. His government is eyeing to retain lower rice import tariffs until next year to tame price increases and ensure enough supply.
Filipinos spent more on rice but consumed less of the staple grain compared to last year, according to a mid-September survey by pollster Pulse Asia Research released Thursday. A fifth of the respondents said they reduced rice consumption in the past three months, while almost all observed the price increase, the survey showed.