The annual consumer price inflation (CPI) increased marginally by 0.3% to 3.2% in January, up from 3.1% in December 2020, according to Statistics SA.
The main contributors were food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities and miscellaneous goods and services. Food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 5.4% year-on-year and contributed a 0.9 percentage point to the total CPI annual rate.
Housing and utilities increased by 2.6% year-on-year and contributed a 0.6 percentage point, while miscellaneous goods and services increased by 6.5% year-on-year and contributed 1 percentage point.
Statistics SA noted that due to the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages from retail outlets, restaurants, bars and hotels, the monthly changes in these indicators were assigned using the headline change in the CPI for January.
This procedure was also used last year when sales of certain products were not allowed.
In-store collection of price data between 15 January and 15 February was suspended to protect its staff against Covid-19 and prices were collected from retailers’ online portals and phone calls.
Although the number of prices feeding into the compilation of the CPI is significantly lower, adequate numbers of price observations were recorded to avoid imputations.
Due to Covid-19 health protocols, retail-based prices recorded across all regions have been pooled to create national average price changes, which were then applied to each elementary index at a regional level. This means that the geographic index changes will mainly vary according to different weights and not different price changes.
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