8 things that are now more expensive in South Africa

 ·20 Apr 2022

Statistics South Africa has published its latest consumer price index, showing that annual headline inflation quickened to 5.9% in March from 5.7% in February. This places it just below the upper limit (6%) of the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) monetary policy target range.

The biggest culprit was fuel prices which increased by 7.2% between February and March, with inland 95-octane petrol rising by R1.46 per litre to reach a record high of R21.60 per litre.

Fuel prices have risen by an eye-watering 33.2% in the twelve months to March, with petrol prices climbing by 32.6% and diesel by 35.1%, the statistics body said. The transport index in March was also driven higher by increases in toll fees, air transport and bus fares.

Some of the largest annual price increases (March 2021 vs March  2022) were recorded for the following goods and services:

  1. Oils and fats: +19.8%
  2. Electricity and other fuels: +14.1% 
  3. Meat: +9%
  4. Hotels: +7.8%
  5. Wine: +7.7%
  6. Beer: +7.7% 
  7. Restaurants: +6.2% 
  8. Bread and cereals: +4.7% 

Food and groceries 

Food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation was softer in March. The monthly rate slowed from 0.9% in February to 0.6%, and the annual rate from 6.4% to 6.2%.

Bread and cereal prices increased at a monthly rate of 1.1% in March after recording a 2.4% jump in February. Other food categories in the CPI basket that registered price increases between February and March include meat; milk, eggs and cheese; fish; and sugar, sweets and desserts.

After rising for three months in a row, prices for oils and fats edged lower in March, dipping slightly by 0.1%. Despite a 0.7% decline in the price of sunflower oil, it is 27% more expensive than a year ago.

Fruit and vegetable prices also dipped lower. After increasing for five consecutive months, fruit prices dropped by 1.3% between February and March. Vegetable prices edged lower by 0.4%, with decreases recorded for lettuce, mushrooms, dried beans, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Other notable price changes

The March release of the CPI incorporates adjustments to excise duties and includes the latest data from rentals and education fees.

A rise in excise duties came into effect, contributing to a 2.2% monthly jump in alcohol and tobacco prices. The most recent results of the quarterly rental survey recorded a rise of 0.6% in both actual and imputed rentals compared with the previous quarter.

Stats SA surveys educational institutions and crèches once a year in March. After dropping to a 30-year low of 4.1% in 2021, annual education inflation edged higher to 4.4% in 2022. Primary and secondary school fees increased by 4.5% and tertiary fees rose by 4.2%.

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