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Stats SA releases its latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data showing the consumer inflation declining to 5.3%

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By Kouthar Sambo

Statistics South Africa has released its latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data showing the headline consumer inflation declining to 5.3% in March.

Speaking on VOC’s Drive Time show on Wednesday, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) Chief Director responsible for Price statistics, Patric Kelly, said that food inflation is a key factor.

“In February we were at 5.6% range below the reserve bank’s target since September 2023, so we are enjoying relatively low levels of inflation whereas in 2022 in July, we hit the peak of 7.8%. Food inflation, however, pushes inflation up, but food inflation slowed to 5.1% in March, and that was down from 6.1% in February,” detailed Kelly.

According to Kelly, the March reading is the lowest we have had in almost three and a half years, given that food is something we purchase regularly.

“However, we still see a mixed bag within the food sector bread and cereal for instance, was at 5% overall, and we have seen price decreases such as pasta, rusks maize meal, and white bread, are cheaper than they were a year ago.”

Meat inflation is even lower, remarked Kelly, registering at 0.8% on an annual basis, just under 1% higher than they were 12 months ago.

“Sugar, sweets, and desserts, which has been above 15% since June last year, while this month, we received a rate of 17.8% and this includes brown sugar and chocolates as well,” explained Kelly.

He added that when measuring inflation, what people spend their money on is being analysed as opposed to making a value judgment on whether it is a necessity or luxury.

“We collect data for food prices and other items you would purchase in retail stores we have a team of field workers of approximately 100 field workers across the country who visit stores each month and record the prices, and that goes into our databases,” added Kelly.

Photo: StatsSA/X

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