South Africa: Inflation drops to nearly three year-low in February
Consumer prices rose 0.8% in February over the previous month, coming in above the 0.3% month-on-month increase observed in January. February’s print marked the largest rise in consumer prices in one year and was largely driven by a 3.5% increase in the price of health products. The prices of clothing and footwear, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco also increased in the surveyed month.
Inflation declined from 4.4% in January to 4.0% in February, marking the lowest print since March 2015. Inflation came in below market analysts’ expectations of 4.2%, and currently lies within the Central Bank’s target range of 3.0%–6.0%, where it has been since April 2017. Meanwhile, annual average inflation moderated from 5.1% in January to 4.9% in February.
Core consumer prices—which exclude food, non-alcoholic beverages, energy and gasoline—jumped from a 0.2% month-on-month increase in January to a 1.1% increase in February. Lastly, core inflation in February remained steady at the 4.1% reading observed in January, which was the lowest print since December 2011.