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Philippines sets price ceiling for pork, chicken as food inflation soars

Philippines sets price ceiling for pork, chicken as food inflation soars

MANILA, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo
Duterte on Monday signed an executive order mandating price
ceilings for pork and chicken in the capital region, as costlier
meat has propelled food inflation to a double-digit level.

Pork retail prices in the Philippines, the world’s
seventh-biggest pork importer before local demand fell due to
the coronavirus pandemic, jumped more than 50% in January from a
year earlier as African swine fever hit hog farm operations.

The resulting pork supply crunch has also kept prices of
chicken elevated as demand increased, despite a domestic
oversupply of poultry meat.

The upward pressure on pork and chicken prices gained
momentum during the Christmas holidays, pushing annual inflation
for meat to 10% in December, and adding to overall inflation
which hit 3.5%, the highest level in nearly two
years.

Rising inflation, which economists expect to be above the
mid-point of the government’s full-year target range of 2%-4% in
January, could put the central bank under pressure to reverse
its accommodative monetary policy aimed at supporting the
pandemic hit domestic economy.

Pork prices at markets in Metro Manila must now be sold at
270-300 pesos ($5.62-$6.24) per kg, from more than 400 pesos in
some outlets since December, according to Duterte’s order.

The price of dressed chicken is now pegged at 160 pesos per
kg from as high as 200 pesos per kg.

To stabilise prices, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said
in January that pork imports may be tripled this year to 162,000
tonnes.
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty)

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Published at Mon, 01 Feb 2021 09:53:14 +0000

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