Prices seen to rise faster than ever this year


Prices of goods and services are expected to grow at their fastest pace this year across the world as a result of higher food prices and costlier oil, a United Nations report said.

In its World Economic Situation and Prospects 2008, the UN projected that the Philippines’ inflation rate is likely to grow 3.5 percent this year or within the government’s target of between 3 percent and 5 percent.

The report said inflationary pressures stem from rising international food prices, as food items have a high weight in the consumer price index (CPI).

In the Philippines, food products make up 50 percent of the basket for the CPI. In Indonesia, agricultural products and processed food account for about 42 percent of the basket.

In April, the country’s inflation rate rose 8.3 percent, the fastest pace since May 2005. Inflation for the first four months reached 6.2 percent, which was significantly above the 3-percent to 5-percent target range for 2008.

“The rising prices of rice nationwide and the general price mark-ups in other food items, such as corn, canned fish and select fresh fish species, meat, cooking oil and select spices and seasonings were responsible for the 2-percent increment in the national month-on-month inflation rate in April from 0.9 percent in March,” the Philippines’ National Statistical Office said recently.

The UN report also projected that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) may rise 6.1 percent, lower than the government’s target of between 6.3 percent and 7 percent this year. GDP is the total value of goods and services produced by a country in a year.

In 2007, the Philippine economy, as measured by GDP, grew 7.3 percent, the highest growth in 30 years.

The UN report said Indonesia’s economy will grow 6 percent; Malaysia, 5.8 percent; Thailand, 4.8 percent; and Singapore, 7.2 percent. (ManilaTimes)

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