Medical aids one of biggest drivers of lower CPI rate in Feb - economists

Stats SA said that the average annual increase across medical aid schemes in February was 4.7%, which was substantially lower than the 9.6% recorded in the same month last year.

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JOHANNESBURG - Stats SA said that health inflation had slowed over the past year, with households paying only 4.3% more for medical services and products.

The increase was lower than the annual rate that was recorded in February last year at 9%.

The data formed part of the release of the CPI figures on Wednesday, which showed inflation slowed to 2.9% in February from 3.2% at the beginning of the year.

Stats SA said that the average annual increase across medical aid schemes in February was 4.7%, which was substantially lower than the 9.6% recorded in the same month last year.

Economists said that the data on medical aids was one of the biggest drivers of the lower CPI rate in February.

Medical insurance was the biggest item in the CPI basket of goods and services measured, taking up 7.6% of total household spending.

Economist Elna Moolman: "The medical aid inflation played a significant role in this particular data set. We expected the inflation rate to be very low but it was even a little lower than our forecast. It is also worth noting that a couple of categories is recorded price declines in February. So here we think of clothing prices, furniture prices, appliances, so a number of them actually recorded price declines, so that helped to keep the overall inflation rate very low."

Meanwhile, doctors raised their fees by 3.2% on average and dentists by 4.3%.

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