Although overall consumer inflation has dropped in the country since October 2018, South Africans are paying more for groceries such as vegetables, fizzy drinks and meat.

Statistics South Africa released their latest Consumer Price index for 2019, revealing that overall inflation has dropped due to fuel price cuts from 4.5% in December 2018 to 4% in January 2019.

“Fuel has a hefty share of 4.6% of the total CPI, which means that changes in the fuel price easily influence month-to-month changes in the headline figure.”

Locals may be relieved by the drop in fuel prices but are feeling the pinch when it comes to general grocery items. The statistics reveal that food and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 1.4% compared to December 2018, with bread and cereal products rising by 2.6% and is the highest recorded monthly increase in such products since March 2016.

“For braai masters out there, the news was mixed,” Statistics South Africa reported.

Although prices of meat have decreased year on year by 1.8%, 2019 saw the first increase by 1.2% meaning that locals will have to fork out more cash for the family braai. The price of sausages has increased by 1.9%, fresh chicken portions by 1.4% and even beef steak by 1.2% month-on-month.

A fresh cup of rooibos tea will cost you more due to the impact of the four-year drought, which resulted in lower yields. The proudly-local tea has increased in price by a whopping 19.4%.

Vegetarians are also being impacted by the price inflation, with peppers rising by 27.2%, tomatoes by 26.8% and with cauliflower costing 14.3% more than last year.

The graph below compares prices from January 2018 to January this year.

Price inflation increases, Statistics South Africa, Consumer Price index

Fizzy bottled drinks prices were shown to have climbed by a shocking 14.7% over the past year, while canned soda prices increased by 14.1%.

Groceries are not the only thing locals are paying more for, parents have paid an over 7% more for books, newspapers and stationary compared to a year ago. Some respite for these costly items came with the December 2018 sales, decreasing the average price of books as well as exam pads by 15.4%.

Fuel prices have had a huge impact on South Africa’s overall inflation in 2018 and a graph (shown below) by Statistics South Africa compares overall CPI inflation (blue line) with the inflation that would have been if the direct influence of the fuel is removed (orange line) outlines this.

Statistics South Africa says that the recent drop in petrol prices from January 2019 has been the biggest fuel index monthly drop since January 2015 , with prices having dropped by 10.2%.

Statistics South Africa, Consumer Price Index 2019


Picture: Pexels

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