Input your search keywords and press Enter.

Inflation hits 5.9% as fuel prices spike

Annual consumer price inflation rose to 5.9% in March from 5.7% in February, driven in large part by fuel price hikes.

This was slightly lower than expected – economists polled by Reuters forecast a 6% increase. The latest inflation number also remains within the SA Reserve Bank’s 3% to 6% target range.

The monthly change in the index was 1.0% in March, up from 0.6% in February, Statistics SA reported.

Transport prices increased by 14.3% year-on-year, with fuel prices up by more than 7% between February and March. Compared to a year ago, petrol prices were 33% more expensive, and diesel 35% pricier.

However, flood inflation softened in March, with the annual rate cooling from 6.4% to 6.2%.

Bread and cereal prices continued to climb, increasing by a monthly rate of 1.1% in March following a 2.4% spike in February. Meat, milk, eggs, and sugar-related products also increased.

But after strong price hikes for three months in a row, prices for oils and fats dipped by 0.1%. Still, despite a 0.7% decline in the price of sunflower oil from February to March, it is 27% more expensive than a year ago, Statistics SA notes.

Fruit and vegetable prices also edged lower in March.

Every year in March, Statistics SA includes the latest data on education fees in the inflation numbers. After dropping to a 30-year low of 4.1% in 2021, annual education inflation edged higher to 4.4% in 2022. Primary and secondary school fees increased by 4.5% and tertiary fees rose by 4.2%. –