CPI figure hits five-year high for May

Stats SA says the consumer price index (CPI) has broken through the upper limit of the SA Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range.

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JOHANNESBURG - Soaring fuel and cooking oil prices have pushed the annual consumer price (CPI) inflation to a five-year high of 6.5% in May.

The rate was 5.9% in April and March and has broken through the upper limit of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range.

The CPI measures monthly changes in prices for a range of consumer prices – it is also used as a cost of living index.

Stats SA said that transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for just over half of the annual inflation rate, with sharp increases recorded in the categories.

As motorists feel the impact of the fuel price squeeze, the entity said that this continued to be a major contributor, adding that if the impact of fuel were to be removed from the CPI reading for May, the headline rate would have fallen to 5.1% from the recorded 6.5%.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been one of the key drivers of the prices, including those of cooking oil.

The monthly change in CPI was 0.7%.

Chief director for price statistics as Stats SA, Patrick Kelly: "Sunflower oil, the highest-rated product in the oils and fats group, is almost 40% more expensive than a year ago. Prices jumped by 16.1% between April and May. Prices for bread and cereal products increased by 3.4% between April and May, taking the annual rate to 8.4%."

The oils and fats product group also recorded sustained levels of high inflation.

The annual rate was 26.9% last month, with prices jumping by 10.1% between April and May.