The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a higher inflation rate of 4 percent for March 2022, from February 2022’s 3 percent, as the country saw oil prices skyrocket due the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The latest reading brought year-to-date (January to March 2022) inflation to 3.4 percent.

According to the PSA, faster annual growth rates were seen in food groups, including oils and fats (9.1 percent); sugar, confectionery and desserts (6.2 percent); fish and other seafood (4.3 percent); flour, bread, and other bakery products, pasta products and other cereals (3.6 percent); and meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals (2.9 percent).

The inflation for food rose to 2.8 percent in March from 1.1 percent in February.

Higher inflation was also observed in alcoholic beverages and tobacco (4.8 percent); furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (2.6 percent); information and communication (0.7 percent); and restaurants and accommodation services (3.0 percent).

Slower annual increments were observed in the indices of health (2.5 percent) and recreation, sports and culture (1.5 percent).

Since January, oil prices have gone up every week except two.

In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government had taken steps to address the inflationary pressures brought about by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“We have been proactively monitoring the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As early as March 7, the economic development cluster has already proposed interventions to manage the impact on the economy and the people,” he said.

The Palace also acknowledged the effect of oil prices on the inflation rate.

“Our economic managers continue to keep a tight watch over inflation as it hits 4 percent in March 2022. They attribute this upward trend in transport, gas, other fuels among others,” acting Palace spokesman Martin Andanar said.

“Having said this, we will not relax in our efforts and will work twice as hard to address the national issue of higher prices,” he added. John Ezekiel J. Hirro