20 things that have become more expensive in South Africa in 2021

Statistics South Africa has published its latest consumer price index, showing that annual headline inflation has climbed above the 4.5% midpoint of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range, accelerating to 5.2% in May from 4.4% in April.

This is the highest reading since November 2018 when the rate was also 5.2%, the statistics body said on Wednesday (23 June).

“The 5.2% annual change in May comes off a low base recorded in May 2020, when fuel prices were low.

“Core inflation – this is CPI excluding food & non-alcoholic beverages, fuel and energy –  was 3.1% in May 2021, much lower than the headline rate.

“This hints at the notable impact that fuel and food inflation has had on overall headline inflation levels.”

Some of the largest annual price increases (May 2020 vs May 2021) were recorded for the following goods and services:

  • Sunflower oil: +30.3%
  • Tomatoes: +29.4%
  • Dried beans : +27%
  • Salad dressing: +18.4%
  • Beef offal: 17.6%
  • Sweet potatoes : +16.9&
  • Chocolate bars: +16.5%
  • Stewing beef: +15.4%
  • Mixed vegetables (tinned): +14.9%
  • Hot cereals (porridge): +14.8%
  • Flavoured milk: +14%
  • Whiteners: +13.4%
  • White wine: +13.2%
  • Fruit juice: +12.8%
  • Beetroot: +12.6%
  • Instant yeast: +12.6%
  • Soup powder: +12.4%
  • Powdered milk: +12.3%
  • Whole chicken: +12.2%
  • White sugar: +11.5%

The data shows that annual food & non-alcoholic beverages inflation accelerated to 6.7% in May from 6.3% in April.

Annual meat inflation has stubbornly remained above 6,0% since October 2020, climbing to 8.5% in May. Prices for fish products increased at a brisk 7%, slightly lower than April’s 8.1%.

Cooking (sunflower) oil prices continue to surge, increasing by 30.3% from May 2020 and by 8,5% from April 2021.

The average price of a 750ml bottle of sunflower oil, for example, was R20,99 a year ago, rising to R29,39 in May.

Higher cooking oil prices have driven inflation in the broader oils and fats category, which recorded an annual rate of 20% in May, up from 16.7% in April.

Fuel another big culprit

Despite a small monthly drop in the fuel price in May, the annual increase quickened to 37.4% from 21.4% in April.

Petrol prices were 41.8% higher in May compared with the same month the previous year, while diesel was 27% more expensive.

Vehicle prices climbed by 6.5% in the year to May. Other running costs for vehicles rose by 8.9% on an annual basis and by 0,8% from April 2021 to May 2021.

Most notably, tyre prices increased on average by 3.3% from April 2021.

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20 things that have become more expensive in South Africa in 2021