Inflation ticks higher – bad news for eating out in South Africa

 ·21 Feb 2024

Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) has ticked up at the start of 2024, but softening food prices provide some relief for cash-strapped consumers.

Stats SA said that CPI increased from 5.1% in December to 5.3% in January – in line with market expectations.

The monthly change in CPI was 0.1% in January.

The categories with the largest annual price increases were restaurants & hotels at 8.0%, food & non-alcoholic beverages (NAB) at 7.2%, and health at 6.5%.

Although there was a monthly decline of 5.2% in fuel prices, this was not enough to subdue the annual rate for fuel, which increased from -2.5% in December to 3.3% in January.

This led to a sharp rise in annual transport inflation from 2.6% in December to 4.6% in January.

Inflation for several other transport categories also cooled in January, as the end of the festive decreased public transport tariffs decreased by 2.0%, dragged down by monthly price decreases for long-distance busses (down 21.2%), car rental (down 12.1%) and airfares (down 4.1%).

Wine and Dine pain

Prices for the restaurants and hotels group increased by 8.0% in the year to January, up from December’s print of 7.0%.

Restuarant-related product groups that saw high annual increases included fish & seafood products (up 9.9%), red meat-based products (up 9.7%) and hamburgers (up 8.6%).

After a jump in the festive season, hotel room rates dropped by 2.1% on a month-to-month basis. Despite this decrease, hotel room prices still increased by 10.7% on a year-to-year basis.

Food inflation cools

Annual inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages decreased from 8.5% in December to 7.2% in January, with all sub-categories, except for sugar, sweets & desserts, oils & fats, and cold beverages, seeing a decline.

The annual rate for sugar, sweets & desserts increased from 17.9% in December to 18.5% in January, with the annual increase in white sugar (20.1% in December to 21.2% in January) driving the upward momentum.

Prices at factories were also elevated, with the December producer price index (PPI) showing sugar inflation at 23.5%, with raw cane sugar growing by 36.7% and refined sugar by 18.8% over the last year.

Annual inflation for bread & cereal products reduced from 7.5% in December to 6.5% in January, while meat inflation also softened from 3.9% to 2.2%.

Other changes

Other notable changes included the annual inflation for miscellaneous goods and services, which ticked up from 5.1% in December to 5.4% in January.

Increasing bank fees led to a 5.5% annual rise in financial services.

On the other hand, prices for personal care items decreased from 10.3% in December to 9.5% in January.

The image below shows the products that recorded the most significant annual and monthly price increases:

Read: Warning over worldwide ‘digital tax’ – that could impact everything from Netflix to Zoom calls

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter