South Africa’s inflation rate slows to seven-year low

South Africa’s inflation rate fell to a seven-year low in March, moving further below the midpoint of the central bank’s target range.

Inflation slowed to 3.8% from a year earlier compared with 4 percent in February, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said Wednesday in a report on its website. The median estimate of 20 economists was 4.1% in a Bloomberg survey. Prices rose 0.4 in the month.

Price growth has remained within the central bank’s target range of 3% to 6% for a 12th consecutive month, the longest run since 2015. The Reserve Bank projects inflation will remain within the band until at least 2020, stabilizing at just more than 5% according to the Monetary Policy Review released April 11.

Policy makers last month cut the repurchase rate by a quarter percentage point to 6.5%, the lowest level in two years, with Governor Lesetja Kganyago saying the bank wanted to see inflation close to the mid-point of the target.

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascent to power following former President Jacob Zuma’s scandal-ridden tenure, the rand has strengthened against the dollar, gaining 9.1% since mid-December, when he was elected leader of the ruling African National Congress.

The rand was little changed at 11.99 per dollar by 10:08 a.m. in Johannesburg.

Core inflation, excluding the price of food, non-alcoholic beverages, energy and gasoline, was 4.1% in March, matching February’s figure.

Read: IMF raises South Africa’s economic growth outlook – thanks to Ramaphosa

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South Africa’s inflation rate slows to seven-year low