Consumer inflation dropped to 4.0% in January 2019, down from 4.5% in December 2018.
According to Statistics South Africa, this is now the lowest annual rate since March 2018 when headline inflation came in at 3.8%.
“The drop in consumer inflation over the past few months is primarily the result of a series of cuts in the fuel price,” it said.
“Fuel has a hefty share of 4,6% of the total CPI, which means that changes in the fuel price easily influence month-to-month changes in the headline figure.”
The petrol price (inland 95-octane) dropped by R1.23 per litre and diesel by R1.54 in January 2019.
This resulted in a 10.2% monthly slump in the fuel index, the biggest monthly drop since January 2015.
The graph below compares overall CPI inflation (blue line) with what CPI inflation would have been if the direct influence of fuel is removed (orange line).
While the major contributor to the rise in overall inflation in 2018 was the fuel price, there were a number of other notable increases.
The biggest climbers were green/red/yellow peppers which have increased in price by 27.2% over the past year.
Other large increases in price include tomatoes (26.8%), sweet potatoes (20.1%) and Rooibos tea (19.4%).
“Peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and rooibos tea experienced the biggest annual price rises in January,” Stats SA said.
“The rise in rooibos tea prices was underpinned by a lack of supply as the industry continues to recover from a four-year drought.
It added that the average price for bottled fizzy drinks and cans had also climbed by 14.7% and 14,1% respectively