Inflation on consumer price edged slightly higher to 5 percent in September, up from 4.9 percent from a year ago in August, and 4.6 percent in July, driven up by rising fuel prices, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) said today.
This represented the fifth consecutive month with annual consumer price inflation (CPI) above the 4.5 percent midpoint of the South African Reserve Bank’s (Sarb) monetary policy target range.
On a month-to-month basis, the CPI increased by 0.2 percent in September.
StatsSA said that fuel continued to spur annual transport inflation and triggering price increases in food and non-alcoholic beverages, and housing and utilities.
Fuel prices have increased by 19.9 percent over the past year on average, with the price of inland 95-octane petrol reaching an all-time high of R18.34 per litre in September.
Motorists were paying R15.18 per litre in September 2020 and R16.03 per litre for petrol in September 2019.
The average price for diesel was R17.18 per litre in September, higher than the prices recorded in September 2020 of R14.87 and September 2019 R16.02.
StatsSA director for price statistics Marietjie Bennett said public transport prices increased by 2.1 percent in September compared with August, mainly underpinned by car rental prices that registered a monthly jump of 16.2 percent.
“Annual fuel inflation has been consistently higher than overall (headline) inflation since April 2021,” Bennett said.
“There is speculation in the press about further fuel price increases in November, and that these might be substantial.”
Monthly food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation was flat at 6.6 percent year-on-year in September as prices did not change compared with the previous month.
Prices for fruit, vegetables, meat and fish decreased in September compared with August.
Bennett said though beef steak prices declined by 1.3 percent and lamb/mutton was on average 0.6 percent cheaper during the month, meat was still 10.3 percent more expensive than a year ago.
The annual inflation rate for oils and fats remained elevated above 20 percent, with the September reading at 22.4 percent.
“The average price for a 700 ml bottle of sunflower oil was R30.98 in September, the highest on record since Stats SA started publishing data with the new inflation basket,” Bennett said.
Housing and utilities recorded an annual percentage change of 4 percent, the highest annual increase since June 2020 when it was also 4 percent.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE