Annual consumer inflation hit a seven-month high in October, driven largely by rising prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages. According to Stats SA, headline inflation was 3,3%, the biggest annual rise since March when the rate was 4,1%.

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), released on November 25, shows that the monthly consumer price index increase in October was 0,3%, edging up from 0,2% recorded in both September and August.

Between September and October, the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 1.4% on average, leading to a 5,4% annual increase. This is the biggest annual rise for this category since September 2017 when the country was emerging out of drought.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages were the main contributors to the 0,3% monthly rise in consumer inflation in October 2020, and the second-largest contributor to the annual rate of 3,3%.

Large annual price increases were recorded for fruit (13,9%); oils and fats (9,7%); sugar, sweets and desserts (9,7%); and milk, eggs and cheese (6,5%). All food categories recorded above headline increases in October with the exception of bread and cereals, which registered an increase on par with the headline rate (3,3%).

In terms of non-alcoholic drinks, hot drinks increased by 6,1%  and cold drinks by 1.7% annually.

Avid tea drinkers may be to blame for the rise in hot beverage prices. Stats SA reports that black tea prices jumped by 3,9% in October compared with September, resulting in an annual rise of 10,4%. Rooibos tea has risen at a much slower 3,3% over the last year.

“It’s not only your cup of tea that’s become more expensive. Prices of popular condiments have also risen sharply. Milk prices have seen large increases, with full cream long-life milk 8,1% more expensive than it was a year ago. The price of white sugar increased by 13,9% over the same period,” reports Stats SA.

“The price of filling your kettle and switching it on to boil has also risen. Municipal water and electricity tariffs both increased on average by 6,0% when they were surveyed in July.”

Read the full report here: P0141October2020

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