Consumer prices in South Africa have risen to their highest in more than a year as inflation hit a 14-month high in April, mainly driven by rising transport and food prices.
Data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) today showed that the annual rate of consumer price index (CPI) rose to 4.4 percent in April, up from 3.2 percent in March.
This was slightly above market expectations of 4.3 percent and moving closer to the midpoint of the South African Reserve Bank's target range of 3 to 6 percent.
This CPI print was the highest inflation rate since February 2020, pushed up by prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages and transport, as economic activity has rebounded.
Stats SA said it was the highest reading since before the lockdown that began at the end of March 2020.
“Over the past 14 months, consumer prices inflation was relatively subdued, bottoming out at 2.1 percent in May 2020. This was the lowest reading in over 15 years,” it said.
“Annual inflation this month is mainly driven by transport and food price increases in housing, utilities and miscellaneous goods and services.”
Transport inflation jumped to 10.6 percent in April, mainly due to a rise in fuel prices, public transport and new vehicles.
Petrol prices reached their highest level on record in April as inland 95 octane petrol was R17.32 per litre, R1 higher than the previous month.
Public transport fares increased by 5.1 percent in April compared with the previous year while new vehicle prices climbed by 5.5 percent over the same period.
Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages products increased by 0.9 percent between March and April, taking the annual rate to 6.3 percent, the highest it has been in 45 months.
Annual meat inflation accelerated to 7.1 percent in April, from 6.7 percent in March, the sixth-consecutive month the rate has been above 6 percent.
Oils and fats products hit an inflation rate of 16.7 percent, the highest since August 2016 as cooking oil prices rose by 21.6 percent over the past 12 months.
Monthly, consumer prices were up 0.7 percent, the same pace as in the prior month and slightly above market estimates of 0.6 percent.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE