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Wholesale price growth picks up in Jan.

GROWTH in wholesale prices of general goods hit a two-month high in January following an uptick in food commodities, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Wednesday.

Preliminary PSA data indicate that the general wholesale price index (GWPI) rose 7% year on year in January, against the 6.7% growth posted in December and 4.6% from a year earlier.

The January reading was the highest since the 7.2% posted in November 2022.

The acceleration in price growth was attributed to stronger price growth in food (14.2% from 11.7% in December) and beverages and tobacco (6.3% from 5.2%).

However, price growth in the following commodity groups eased year on year during the month: Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (14.2% from 22.2%); chemicals including animal and vegetable oils and fats (0.1% from 2.2%); manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials (3.9% from 4.3%); machinery and transport equipment (1.1% from 1.3%); and miscellaneous manufactured articles (3.4% from 3.7%).

Price growth contracted in crude materials, inedible except fuels (27.2% from 17.7%).

Luzon outpaced the national GWPI rate with a reading of 7.2% in January, against 6.9% in December and 4.7% in January 2022.

“The uptrend in the GWPI in Luzon was primarily caused by the 14.9% annual increase in the heavily-weighted food index from the previous month’s record of 12.3%. In addition, a higher annual uptick was recorded in the index of beverages and tobacco at 6.1%,” PSA said.

Luzon posted the fastest growth in over two months or since the 7.4% reading in November 2022.

The GWPI in Mindanao accelerated to 5.5% from 4.5% in December and January 2022’s 4.2%.

Meanwhile, the Visayas GWPI in January slowed to 4.9% from 5.6% in December. It was higher than the year-earlier 3.2%.

“Price pressures remain in the Philippines and rising wholesale prices mirror worsening supply side bottlenecks referred to by the most recent Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) manufacturing survey,” ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said in an e-mail. 

The manufacturing PMI continued to expand in January with a score of 53.5, higher compared with 53.1 in the previous month. A PMI reading above 50 indicates purchasing managers are ordering more materials that will go into manufactured goods or inventory for sale, which is a leading indicator for improving economic conditions.

“Accelerating GWPI could find its way to consumer prices as firms are likely to simply pass on the increased cost of production to buyers,” Mr. Mapa added. — Lourdes O. Pilar

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