South Africa’s inflation rises to 3.2 percent in March

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South African rand coins sit alongside a South African 100 rand banknote in this arranged photograph in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. The rand ended a tumultuous week on a positive note, gaining against the dollar for a second day and heading for its first weekly advance in four as technical indicators suggested recent declines are overdone. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Africa’s annual consumer price inflation (CPI) rose to 3.2 percent in March, up from 2.9 percent in February, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: South African rand coins sit alongside a South African 100 rand banknote in this arranged photograph in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Patrick Kelly, Chief Director for Price Statistics, said the change was mainly contributed by the increase in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

“Annual inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages edged up to 5.7 percent in March from 5.2 percent in February. Products that recorded annual price rises above the 5.7 percent average included oils and fats,” he said.

He said that fuel prices in March were around 2.3 percent higher compared to the same month last year.

“This is the first time in 12 months that fuel prices have increased on an annual basis,” he said.

Housing and utilities increased by 2.2 percent year-on-year, while transport increased by 3.8 percent year-on-year.

Despite the increase, the CPI was still low, said Jannie Rossouw, Head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“It might mean it would take a while before the interest rates are increased again, the target range for the Reserve Bank is between 3 to 6 percent,” he told Xinhua.

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