Statistics South Africa has published its latest consumer price index, showing that annual headline inflation jumped to 5.9% in December 2021, up from 5.5% in November 2021.
This is the highest annual increase since March 2017 when the rate was 6.1%, the statistics body said in a statement on Wednesday (19 January).
The main contributors to the 5.9% annual inflation rate were food and non-alcoholic beverages; housing and utilities; transport; and miscellaneous goods and services. Food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 5.5% year on year and contributed a percentage point to the total CPI annual rate.
Some of the largest annual price increases (December 2020 vs December 2021) were recorded for the following goods and services:
- Fuel: +40.5%
- Oils and fats: +20.8%
- Meat: +8.6%
- Wine: +7.8%
- Electricity and other fuels: +14%
- Milk, eggs and cheese: +5.3%
The factors driving the rise in the cost of living over the last few months were also behind December’s inflation reading. Specifically, large price rises in the transport category, particularly fuel, and increases in important food groups such as meat and oils & fats, StatsSA said.
“Fuel prices jumped by 40.5% in December 2021 compared with December 2020, with the price of inland 95-octane petrol rising to R20.29 per litre. This is the first time that the price has broken through the R20 per litre mark.
“The record rise in fuel prices is the main factor behind the 16.8% annual rise in the transport index, up from 15,0% in November. Transport inflation contributed 2.3 percentage points to the 5.9% headline rate.”
The food and non-alcoholic beverages index recorded an annual rise of 5.5% in December.
The most notable increase was for meat, and the annual rate recorded for meat in December increased by 8.6), slightly up from November’s reading of 8.5%. Beef products recorded large price increases between November and December, with prices for steak rising by 2.8%, stewing beef by 2.4% and mince by 1.3%.
Oils & fats continue to record relatively high rates of inflation, registering an annual increase of 20.8% in December, slightly lower than November’s 21%. The average price for a bottle of cooking oil (750 ml) increased by 19c to R30.22 in December. A jar of peanut butter (400 grams) increased by 60c to R34.52.
Bread and cereal inflation slowed during 2021, with the annual rate softening to 1.8% in December from the year’s high of 4.9% in May.