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Food, housing, transport, utilities main contributors to April inflation

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) today said the annual headline inflation rate in South Africa remained unchanged at 5.9 percent in April compared to March. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) today said the annual headline inflation rate in South Africa remained unchanged at 5.9 percent in April compared to March. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Published May 18, 2022

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Consumer prices in South Africa remained elevated in April due to rising global oil and food prices as a result of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, and supply-chain disruptions in China.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) today said the annual headline inflation rate in South Africa remained unchanged at 5.9 percent in April compared to March.

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This means that the consumer price index (CPI) remained steady at a 3-month high, also matching market forecasts.

This also marked the 12th consecutive month in which annual inflation has been higher than the midpoint of the South African Reserve Bank's target range of 3–6 percent.

StatsSA said the main contributors to the April inflation print were food and non-alcoholic beverages; housing and utilities; transport; and miscellaneous goods and services.

StatsSA director for price methodology James Khami said the monthly food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation quickened to 0.7 percent in April from 0.6 percent in March, with notable monthly increases for oils and fats, hot beverages and meat.

Khami said for oils and fats, the average price of a 750ml bottle of sunflower oil increased from R31.24 in March to R34.89 in April.

“This is the third time in 5 months that the annual rate was 5.9 percent, testing the 6 percent upper limit of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range,” Khami said.

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“The last time that the headline inflation was above the target range was 5 years ago when the rate was 6.1 percent in March 2017.

“Fuel prices continued to cause pain in April 2022, increasing by 2.2 percent from March to April to reach new record highs. Fuel is 29.2 percent more expensive than a year ago.”

On a monthly basis, the CPI eased slightly to 0.6 percent in April from 1 percent in March.

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The Don Consultancy Group (DCG) chief economist Chifi Mhango said though the inflation rate was unchanged, undercurrent pressures remained elevated as depicted in high food and transport costs.

“As the inflation rate continues to rise, advanced economies are taking a more restrictive approach towards monetary policy by hiking interest rates,” Mhango said.

“We are expecting a similar approach from the South African Reserve Bank amid soaring inflation.”

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