Statistics South Africa has announced that the country’s Consumer Inflation has fallen to 2.1% in May, its lowest in nearly 16 years. Annual consumer price inflation fell to its lowest reading since September 2004, dragged lower mainly by falling fuel prices.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the prices of consumer goods and services. The most significant price move in May was the fall in fuel prices. The fuel index slumped by 12.2% from April.

The transport category, which includes fuel, running costs, vehicle purchases and public transport, was the only contributor to the -0.6% monthly change in the CPI.

Meat and dairy prices are up, but beverages are cheaper.

Food prices

The Competition Commission says its latest report on food price monitoring has identified the rand depreciation and panic buying as the partial drivers of price increases at food markets at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission has also found that some food suppliers and retailers increase prices before the higher cost stock reaches their shelves. It says it will continue to monitor food prices throughout the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that vulnerable low-income households are protected.

“Food constitutes 30% of low income household expenditure and is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system so containing price inflation is a priority during this pandemic. Out of 1 600 complaints received under the excessive price and consumer protection regulations by the end of June, 19% related to basic food products in retail stores,” says the Commission’s Head of Communications, Siyabulela Makunga.