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Wholesale price growth slows in 2023

PRICE GROWTH of bulk general goods eased to 4.9% in 2023, the Philippines Statistics Authority reported on Monday.

The general wholesale price index (GWPI) in 2023 was much weaker than the 7.3% reading in 2022, according to preliminary data.

The GWPI in December rose 4.3% in December, up from 4.2% in the previous month but weaker than the 6.7% posted a year earlier.

The December level was the highest since the 4.4% reading in October.

Security Bank Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces noted that price movement in mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials were influenced by “relatively stable global oil prices, slight peso depreciation, and potentially continued government fuel subsidies.”

The peso strengthened by 11.5 centavos or 0.21% to P55.37 in December.

Price growth in food and beverages and tobacco was flat at 6.8% and 6.2%, respectively.

Other commodity groups that recorded slower bulk price growth in December were: manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (4.5% from 4.6%), machinery and transport equipment (1% from 1.3%), crude materials, inedible except fuels (-1.8% from -1.9%).

Price growth in miscellaneous manufactured articles accelerated to 3.5% in December from 3.3% previously.

Price growth in chemicals including animal and vegetable oils and fats was 1.8%, up from 1.5%.

In Luzon, growth in the GWPI accelerated to 4.2% in December from 4.1% in the previous month, though the reading was lower than the 6.9% posted in December 2022.

In 2023, Luzon’s GWPI rose 4.9%.

Visayas price growth far exceeded the national average at 5.7% in December, up from the previous month’s 5.2%, though it was lower compared to the 5.6% posted a year earlier. Over the year it posted a 4.6% average.

Mindanao wholesale price growth eased to 3.5% in December from the previous month’s 3.6% and the 4.5% posted in December 2022.

Over the year, Mindanao’s GWPI averaged 4.3%.

“Considering factors like continued global oil price stability, government interventions, and broader economic conditions, it’s possible that overall wholesale price growth might remain moderate in the first half of 2024,” Mr. Roces said in an e-mail. — Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo