Philippine inflation jumps following Haiyan

Philippine inflation jumps following Haiyan
Super Typhoon Haiyan
A survivor walks among the debris of houses destroyed by Super Typhoon Haiyan

MANILA - Devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan pushed inflation in the Philippines to a two-year high of 4.1 per cent in December, the government said Tuesday. Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said major food items rose across the board, especially in storm-hit areas.

Haiyan lashed the central Philippines in November, leaving 8,000 people dead and missing and more than four million homeless. It also destroyed key infrastructure, which led to gridlocks that resulted in artificial supply crunches, the government said.

"Almost all food items in the average consumer basket increased, which can be mainly attributed to the impact of Typhoon Yolanda (the local name of Haiyan)," Balisacan said in a statement. "Some food items even reached double-digit inflation in the areas hardest hit by the typhoon," he added. He said December's inflation was the highest since the 4.2 per cent registered in December 2011.

However, full-year inflation averaged 3.0 per cent, which is at the low end of the government's 3.0-5.0 per cent target. Balisacan said that adding to inflation pressures were an uptick on oil prices as well as a 40 per cent hike in generation charges imposed by Manila Electric Co., which distributes power to Manila and its surrounding provinces. 

 

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