The inflation rate in the Philippines soared to 4.5 percent in May, believed to be the highest in two years, according to government release on Thursday.
The may inflation rate was not only higher than the 2.6 percent in the same period of last year, but also surpassed the 4.1 percent in April, said a report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Thursday.
"The growth was primarily brought about by higher annual rate posted in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index," PSA said.
The year-on-year inflation for food items rose to 7.1 percent in May 2014 from 6.5 percent in April 2014.
This was driven by higher prices of rice, meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs, oils and fats, fruits, vegetable, sugar, and other food products.
Faster annual increments were also registered in the indices of clothing and footwear; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; transport; and communication, it said.
The country's inflation rate has been remaining above 4 percent so far this year, except 3.9 percent in March. May inflation was the highest since November of 2011 at 4.7 percent.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expects the country's full year inflation rate for 2014 to fall within the government's target of 3.0-5.0 percent, even though the balance of risks to the inflation outlook remains slightly tilted toward the upside.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said, " potential increases in food prices may emanate from weather disturbances such as the possibility of an imminent El Nino, the depreciating peso, and the pending petitions for further adjustments in utility rates, transport fares, and wages," he added.
He called on the government departments to intensify efforts to implement programs that will help provinces and cities highly vulnerable to the adverse impact of a prolonged dry spell.
These steps include cloud seeding operations to induce rains in major watersheds and farming areas, distribution of shallow tube wells and drought-tolerant crop varieties, and provision of assistance to farmers who prefer crop shifting to drought- resistant crops.