GROWTH in the wholesale prices of general goods slowed in September to the weakest reading in three months, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Monday.
According to preliminary PSA data, the general wholesale price index (GWPI) eased to 4.4% year on year, from the 5% posted in August and 8.2% a year earlier.
The recent low for the indicator was 4% in June.
Year to date, GWPI averaged 5.1%, much lower than the 7.4% a year earlier.
“A possible reason for the easing could be a decrease in demand, leading to an excess supply of goods,” Robert Dan J. Roces, chief economist at Security Bank Corp., said in a Viber message.
Mr. Roces added that the September slowdown may also be due to a stabilization or reduction in the cost of production or logistics, possibly, as a result of improved supply chain efficiency and lower input costs.
He said the indicator could also be reflecting base effects from a year earlier.
“The lower annual growth of GWPI in the country were primarily brought about by the downtrends in the indices of the heavily weighted food at 7.3% in September 2023 from 7.9% in the previous month,” the PSA said.
This was followed by chemicals including animal and vegetable oils and fats easing to 1.3% in September from 3.4% in August, then beverages and tobacco with a 5.9% gain during the period compared with 6.2% in August.
Other commodities that logged slower growth were machinery and transport equipment (1.4% in September from 1.6% in August) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (3.6% from 4.4%).
Bulk prices in Luzon and Mindanao eased while price growth in the Visayas accelerated.
Wholesale price growth in Luzon slowed to 4.6% from 5% in August and 8.5% from a year earlier.
“The downtrend of the GWPI in Luzon was primarily caused by the slower annual increases recorded in the indices of chemicals including animal and vegetable oils and fats at 1.8% in September 2023 from 4.0% in the previous month,” the PSA said.
In Mindanao, the GWPI eased to 3.2% from 3.4% in August and 4% in September 2022.
The PSA attributed the slowdown to the food index, which came in at 5.8% from 6.7% a month earlier.
Meanwhile, price growth in the Visayas picked up to 4.6% from 4.2%. This was also lower than the 6.9% posted in September last year.
“The higher annual growth of the food index at 9.1% in September from 8.3% in the previous month primarily caused the uptrend in the annual rate of GWPI in Visayas,” the PSA said.
Mr. Roces said that if the factors that led to the September price slowdown continue, we might expect the moderation in wholesale prices to persist into the next month and potentially throughout the year.
“However, this outlook could be affected by unforeseen economic developments, shifts in consumer behavior, or changes in the global trade environment,” Mr. Roces added. — Abigail Marie P. Yraola