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Stats SABusinessLive reports that consumer inflation surprised economists by slowing in May to 4.4% from 4.5% in the previous month despite the implementation of a VAT hike in April.  

The consumer price index (CPI) had been expected by economists to continue its rise from a low of 3.8% reached in March.  The food component of CPI showed annual inflation of 3%, down from 3.7% in April, helped by average fruit prices falling 6.4% and bread and cereals getting 4.1% cheaper over the year.  May’s fuel inflation came in at 9.4% in comparison with the same month in 2017.  The drop in fruit and cereal prices helped mitigate 7.8% inflation in meat prices and 6.8% inflation in fish prices.  According to Stats SA, the price of cellphones and other telecommunications equipment fell by a substantial 15.8% over the year.  The inflation figures are split into 10 income brackets and the figures showed that the rich suffered higher inflation than the poor.  South Africans in the lowest “expenditure decile” had inflation of 2.1%, which rose to 4.7% for people in the richest segment.

  • Read the original of this report by Robert Laing at BusinessLive


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