The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported an inflation rate of 6.1 percent for June 2022, the highest since October 2018, as the country continued to see numerous spikes in food and energy prices amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to the PSA, the increase in the country’s inflation was mainly brought about by the higher annual increase in the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages (6 percent); transport (17.1 percent); and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (7.8 percent).

Higher inflation was also observed in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (6.6 percent).

Slower annual increments were observed in the indices of clothing and footwear (2.2 percent), health (2.6 percent), recreation, sport and culture (1.9 percent) and personal care, and miscellaneous goods and services (2.6 percent).

Inflation for food at the national level also soared further to 6.4 percent in June 2022 from 5.2 percent in May 2022.

“The acceleration in the food inflation was primarily influenced by the higher annual growth in the meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals index at 8.1 percent. Also contributing to the uptrend in the food inflation was fruits and nuts food group which registered an inflation rate of 1.1 percent, from -2.4 percent in the previous month,” the PSA said.

Marcos Jr. disagrees

But in his first media briefing on Tuesday, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he disagreed with the PSA’s number.

“I think I will have to disagree with that number. We are not that high,” he said.

The president said the government’s inflation “targets” were less than four percent.

“Unfortunately, it looks like we may cross that threshold. Tatawid tayo sa four percent. That’s why again we have to think about interest rate levels,” he said.

Marcos Jr. claimed the country’s inflation was “actually imported inflation.”

“It is imported because it is the inflation on the products that have suffered inflation that we import. So sumama na ‘yung inflation nila doon sa atin,” he said.

He also disclosed that his preferred monetary policy was to use interest rates to hold and take control of the inflation rate.

“We are not looking specifically to the exchange rates now. What we are talking about, what we are specifically […] targeting is the inflation rate,” he said.

Monetary policy is set by the Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the independent Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. John Ezekiel J. Hirro