The hard lockdown lowered the demand for consumer goods. Photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
The hard lockdown lowered the demand for consumer goods. Photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

CPI falls to lowest in 15 years at 3%

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Jun 24, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Annual consumer price inflation (CPI) declined to 3 percent in April, down from 4.1 percent in March -  the lowest in 15years - as the hard lockdown lowered the demand for consumer goods.

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) said on Wednesday that this was the lowest inflation rate since June 2005 when the rate was 2.8 percent.

StatsSA said the consumer price index decreased by 0.5 percent month-on-month in April. 

The coronavirus (Covid-19) regulations in April restricted retails sale to food, non-alcoholic beverages, personal care and health items. 

StatsSAs said food and non-alcoholic beverages items increased by 0.3 percent on average between March and April, while meat prices increased by 1 percent. 

Prices for bread and cereal were unchanged on average from March, whereas maize-meal prices dropped by 0.2 percent. 

"The  consumer price index for April reflects the impact of the first month of the Covid-19 lockdown," StatsSA said.

"The CPI decreased by half a percent between March and April. This was mostly the result of a 11.1 percent drop in fuel prices."  

The main contributors to the 3 percent annual inflation rate were food and non-alcoholic beverages; housing and utilities; transport; and miscellaneous goods and services.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 4.4 percent year-on-year, and contributed 0.7 of a percentage point to the total print. 

Housing and utilities increased by 4.6 percent year-on-year,while transport decreased by 3.5 percent in the same period. 

Miscellaneous goods and services increased by 6.4 percent year-on-year, and contributed 1 percentage point. 

The annual inflation rates for goods and for services were 1.7 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively. 

SA Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago last week said he was not worried about high inflation this year, especially given the recent collapse of oil prices. 

Kganyago, however, said the fact that 2020 inflation was likely to be low in no way guaranteed that inflation would stay low.

"Therefore that we can stop worrying about it permanently," Kganyago said. 


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