/ 18 January 2012

December consumer price index remains steady

The increase in South Africa’s consumer price index (CPI), which is used by the South African Reserve Bank for its inflation target, was 6.1% year-on-year in December, from 6.1% year-on-year in November, Statistics South Africa said on Wednesday.

The inflation rate was expected to have ticked up slightly to 6.2% year-on-year in December from the 6.1% year-on-year seen in November, according to a survey of leading economists by I-Net Bridge.

Forecasts among the seven economists ranged from 6.1% to 6.3%.

CPI increased 0.2% month on month in December from 0.3% in November.

The annual average consumer rate was 5.0% in 2011 from 4.3% in 2010, 7.1% in 2009 and 11.5% in 2008. It was at 7.1% in 2007.

The annual average for CPI was 4.7% in 2006 from 3.4% in 2005, compared with only 1.4% in 2004, which was the lowest annual average since 1958.

The food and non-alcoholic beverages index increased by 0.3% between November 2011 and December 2011. The year-on-year rate increased to 11.1% in December 2011 from 10.7% in November 2011. The following components in the food and non-alcoholic beverages index showed monthly increases: fruit (2.8%), meat (2.0%), bread and cereals (0.8%), oils and fats (0.7%), milk, eggs and cheese (0.1%) and hot beverages (0,1%). The following components had monthly declines: vegetables (-2.9%), other food (-1.2%), cold beverages (-0.9%), fish (-0.7%) and sugar, sweets and desserts (-0.4%).

The housing and utilities index increased by 0.5% between November 2011 and December 2011, mainly due to a 0.8% increase in the prices of actual rentals for housing and a 0.7% increase in the price of owners’ equivalent rent. The year-on-year rate eased to 6.5% in December 2011 from 6.6% in November 2011.

The provinces with an annual inflation rate lower than or equal to the national inflation were Western Cape (5.9%) and Gauteng (5.8%). The provinces with an annual inflation rate higher than headline inflation were Northern Cape (7.8%), Eastern Cape (7.7%), Free State (7.1%), North West (6.7%), Mpumalanga (6.7%), KwaZulu-Natal (6.6%) and Limpopo (6.4%). — I-Net Bridge, Reuters