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Consumers’ financial woes grow as inflation increases at alarming rate

The consumer price index for last month was 7 percent, up by 0.8 percent in January.

Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Consumer prices have increased by 1.4 percent between January and February this year, putting South Africans in a difficult financial position.

The consumer price index (CPI) for last month was 7 percent, up by 0.8 percent in January.

The latest data shows that food and non-alcoholic drinks increased by 1.1 percent in January to 1.3 percent in February.

Economist Lesiba Mothata says this puts more strain on consumers.

"The pace of this acceleration is concerning, it is expected. We do expect inflation to go up, but at this rate it really is not something that has been priced into markets and soon you may find that bond yields begin to respond with this deterioration in inflation expectation."

Earlier today, motorists were warned to brace themselves for a fuel price hike.

Economists predict an increase of between 70 and 80 cents per litre next month, if the rand and oil prices remain at current levels.

A 30 cents per litre hike in the fuel levy will also come into effect in April.

NO SIGN OF IMMEDIATE RELIEF

There's more evidence this afternoon that food prices are rising quickly after the drought through the summer.

Food prices jumped by eight point six percent year on year.

Agri-SA economist Thabi Nkosi says it's going to be a long time before food prices stop rising so quickly.

"A number of factors need to be put in place for us to see some relief on the food price front. We have been hearing a lot of climatologist have talking about another season of very bad weather, so we are not very hopeful about them coming down in the near future."