South Africa’s overall inflation rate remains low but the fuel price and food prices continue to climb steadily according to the latest Statistics SA data released on Wednesday.
Fuel prices have now increased to levels higher than this time last year according to the data.
“After a month below 3%, annual headline inflation quickened slightly to 3,2% in March from 2,9% in February, rising back into the South African Reserve Bank’s inflation target range of 3–6%,” Statistics SA said.
The highest annual inflation rates were found in food and non-alcoholic beverages (5,7%), education (4,1%), and miscellaneous goods and services (4,0%).
Product groups below the target range were housing and utilities (2,2%), recreation and culture (1,8%), household contents & services (0,7%), clothing & footwear (0,3%), restaurants & hotels (0,1%) and communication (-0,5%).
According to the data, oils and fats inflation which hit 13,4% was a major driver of overall food price inflation, which rose from 5,2% in February to 5,7% in March. The rise in the price of oil and fats was the largest since October 2016.
“Prices climbed across the board within this group, with the largest increases recorded by cooking oil (16,3%), peanut butter (12,4%) and margarine (10,0%),” Stats SA said.
Inflation on sugar, sweets and desserts was 7,4%; milk, eggs and cheese was 7,2%; fish was 6,8% and meat rose by 6,7%.
“The annual rate for meat was 6,7% in March, identical to the rate recorded in February. Chicken products recorded month-on-month price increases, ranging from 0,3% to 2,1%,” Stats SA said.
Food and beverage products that recorded annual price changes below 5,7% in March included bread and cereals (4,9%), vegetables (3,4%) and fruit (-1,0%).
The prices for the following products decreased between February and March:
- lamb and mutton (-1,1%)
- sausages (-1,1%)
- stewing beef (-0,4%).
Fuel Price up in March 2020
“Fuel prices in March 2021 were on average 2,3% higher than they were in March 2020. This is the first time in 12 months that fuel prices have increased on an annual basis. In other words, for the first time in a year, motorists are paying more for fuel than they were 12 months before,’ Statistics SA said.