The Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas increased to 4.3 percent in December 2023 after two consecutive months of deceleration.

This brings the region’s average IR from January to December 2023 at 4.4 percent. The regional IR was higher than the 3.9 percent national IR in December 2023. In December 2022, the regional IR was higher at 7.8 percent.

The uptrend in the regional IR in December 2023 was primarily brought about by the slower annual decrease in the index of housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels at 2.6 percent in December 2023 from an annual decrease of 4.5 percent in the previous month. Higher IR in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 8.3 percent during the month from 7.7 percent in November 2023 also contributed to the upward trend. In addition, the index for transport exhibited slower annual decline at 1.3 percent, from 2.2 percent annual decline in November 2023.

Moreover, increased IRs were also recorded in the following commodity groups during the month:

a. Furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance, 6.3 percent from 5.9 percent; and b. Health, 3.2 percent from 3.0 percent
In contrast, the following commodity groups registered lower IRs during the month:

a. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 7.8 percent from 7.9 percent; b. Clothing and footwear, 0.9 percent from 1.2 percent; c. Information and communication, 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent; d. Restaurants and accommodation services, 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent; and e. Personal care and miscellaneous goods and services, 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent

The indices for education services and recreation, sport, and culture retained their previous month’s IRs at 1.4 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, financial services index remained at zero percent annual growth during the month (Table 3).

The IR for food index increased to 8.7 percent in December 2023, from 8.0 percent in November 2023. The IR for food in December 2022 was higher at 9.2 percent (Table 3).
The increase of the IR for food in December 2023 was primarily influenced by the faster IR for rice at 20.5 percent during the month from 15.0 percent in November 2023. This was followed by fruits and nuts with an IR of 18.1 percent during the month from 12.8 percent IR in November 2023. Higher IRs were also noted in milk, other dairy products, and eggs and corn in December 2023 at 8.7 percent and 2.7 percent, from 7.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, in November 2023.

In addition, meat and other parts of slaughtered land animal’s index recorded slower annual decline at 0.7 percent in December 2023 from an annual decrease of 0.8 percent in the previous month.

Meanwhile, compared with their previous month’s IRs, lower IRs were observed in the following indices:

a. Flour, bread and other bakery products, pasta products, and other cereals, 5.7 percent from 6.0 percent; b. Fish and other seafood, 5.5 percent from 7.9 percent; c. Oils and Fats, 0.9 percent from 1.7 percent; d. Vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas, and pulses, 0.7 percent from 7.7 percent; e. Sugar, confectionery, and desserts, 0.7 percent from 2.7 percent; and f. Ready-made food and other food products not elsewhere classified, 4.4 percent from 4.8 percent.

Compared with their respective IRs in November 2023, nine (9) regions recorded lower inflation rates in December 2023, seven (7) regions had higher inflation rates, while the remaining one (1) region moved the same as in the previous month. Among the regions, Eastern Visayas’ IR at 4.3 percent ranked seventh among the regions with high IRs during the month in review. BARMM recorded the highest IR at 6.2 percent, while Cagayan Valley registered the lowest IR at 1.6 percent (Figure 2 and Table 4).

Relative to their IRs in November 2023, four (4) provinces recorded higher IRs in December 2023, Eastern Samar registered lower IR, while Southern Leyte retained its previous month’s IR. Among the provinces, Samar posted the highest IR at 6.6 percent in December 2023. Eastern Samar’s IR came next at 5.2 percent, followed by Leyte at 4.1 percent; Biliran at 4.0 percent; and Northern Samar at 3.3 percent. The lowest IR was noted in Southern Leyte at 2.4 percent (Figure 3 and Table 5).

Meanwhile, IR for Tacloban City, the lone Highly Urbanized City (HUC) in the region, was recorded at 3.6 percent in December 2023, higher than its 2.5 percent IR last month. (PR)