BACOLOD City – The economy of Negros Occidental remains “viable” as its average inflation rate settled at 3.7 percent in 2019 from seven percent in the previous year, figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
Provincial statistical officer Luis Gonzales said on Friday that the decrease of almost half indicates a viable economy.
Gonzales said the province’s livestock and poultry industry has not been affected by the African swine fever.
“A strong agriculture sector, including livestock and poultry, is an advantage for Negros Occidental. The province was also spared from major calamities and disasters last year,” he said. “We have experienced prolonged dry season last year, but the impact was not that huge.”
An indicator of economic well-being, inflation is the sustained increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.
Based on PSA figures in 2019, Negros Occidental posted the lowest inflation in November at 1.7 percent. In October, inflation rate was at 1.9 percent and in December, 2.1 percent.
Gonzales said the higher inflation in December was mainly attributed to the increase in costs of some commodity groups, such as housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels, which also contributed to higher inflation in the transport sector.
In November and December, there was also an upward movement in inflation among food and non-alcoholic beverages, furnishings, household equipment, routine maintenance, and health.
The higher demand for food products, especially Noche Buena items, including bread, pasta, and other bakery products, during the holiday season contributed to higher inflation in the province during the period.
Gonzales said the government continues to initiate measures on how to lower the country’s inflation rate.
“So far, Negros Occidental is still better in terms of inflation compared to other provinces,” he added. (PNA)