Growth in retail prices of goods in Metro Manila eased to a 17-month low in September as food prices posted slower increases, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Data from the PSA showed the General Retail Price Index (GRPI) in the National Capital Region (NCR) posted slower growth of 3.6 percent in September from 3.9 percent in August.

The latest GRPI reading is the lowest since the 3.5 percent growth in April last year.

It is also lower than the 5.9 percent increase in September last year.

'The primary contributor to the deceleration in the annual increase of GRPI in NCR was the slower annual increase recorded in the heavily-weighted food index at 6.2 percent during the month from 6.9 percent in August 2023,' the PSA said.

Five other commodity groups registered slower growth in September.

Among these are crude materials, inedible except fuels, which posted a 3.6-percent growth in September from 3.8 percent in August.

Chemicals, including animal and vegetable oils and fats rose by 2.8 percent in September, slower than the 3.1 percent growth in August.

Manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials grew by 2.1 percent in September, lower than the 2.3 percent increase in August.

Machinery and transport equipment picked up at a slightly slower pace of 1.3 percent in September from 1.4 percent in August.

Miscellaneous manufactured articles also had a slower growth rate of 1.7 percent in September from 1.8 percent in August.

Meanwhile, the index of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials declined at a slower pace of 1.9 percent in September from the five-percent contraction in August.

Beverages and tobacco, on the other hand, posted a slightly higher growth rate of five percent in September from 4.9 percent in August.

GRPI growth averaged five percent from January to September.

The GRPI measures changes in prices at which retailers sell their goods to consumers relative to a base year.

Apart from monitoring the economic situation of retail trade, the GRPI is used in forecasting business in the sector.

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