South African consumers have endured a difficult time in 2018, started by a VAT hike to 15% in April, while rising fuel prices and an economy in recession has meant no respite during the course of the year.
Indeed, the latest available inflation figures from Stats SA paints a pretty dismal picture for households, showing that pretty much everything has climbed in price since January 2018, across all categories.
However, there are at least 11 items covered by Stats SA that shows that not everything has gone up.
According to the data, the cost of telecoms equipment in South Africa has actually decreased by 8.5% since the start of the year – with the price of fruit coming a close second, down 8.1%.
Sugar, sweets and desserts have also seen prices drop, with index points showing a 4.8% drop, with other categories showing smaller drops, like furnishings (-1.8%), recreational equipment (-1.3%) and oils and fats (-1.1%) also costing less.
The graph below shows 11 things that have actually come down in price since the start of 2018.
Of course, the vast majority of items have seen increases – some particularly painful on households.
As most consumers would be aware, the fuel price index has seen a 11.4% climb between January and August 2018, and this excludes the most recent monster price hike of R1 in October.
Water and other related services have seen the price index grow by 10.9% – while cold beverages, which are usually packed with sugar, have seen the impact of the sugar tax, with the index climbing almost 9%.
Electricity and education also saw big jumps (7.7% each), while insurance and medical services also saw big jumps.
The graph below outlines the biggest increases we have seen this year.
The increases are based on the changes to the respective indices over time, where the base (index score of 100) is taken from prices in December 2016.
For example, beer had an index score of 105.8 in January 2018, meaning prices were 5.8% higher than in December 2016. In August 2018, the index score had climbed to 108.4%, meaning the price of beer is 8.4% higher than in December 2016, but 2.5% higher than in January 2018.