Higher fuel prices help push June Consumer Price Index to 4.6%

South Africa’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) ticked up to 4.6 % in June from 4.4% the previous month, with transport costs being one of the key contributors due to higher fuel prices, according to official statistics released on Wednesday.

Before the announcement was made, analysts had expected CPI to rise to 4.8%.

Fuel prices have been steadily increasing since April due to a combination of higher global oil prices, higher fuel taxes and a weakening rand. This has prompted government to investigate strategies aimed at cushion consumers from the impact.

“Transport [as a contributor to headline CPI] increased from 0.7 of a percentage point in May 2018 to 1.0 percentage points in June. The index increased by 7.3% year-on-year,” said StatsSA in its release.

Nedbank Economic Analyst, Reezwana Sumad, said the increase was within the expectated range, given the recent spike in fuel prices.

She said a weaker rand and a rise in oil prices were key concerns that might impact the CPI in the near future.

“These two components are likely to result in a further increase if they rise simultaneously,” she said.

The CPI measures monthly changes in prices for a range of consumer products, including food and utilities.

Hotel and restaurants sub-components of the CPI decreased from 0.2 of a percentage point in May 2018 to 0.1 of a percentage point in June, pointing to a weak demand due to lower spending patterns. — Fin 24

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