The annual consumer price inflation rate for April 2021 has increased to 4.4% compared to 3.3% reported in March, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by Statistics SA (Stats SA) on Wednesday morning.
This is the highest reading since before lockdown, which was 4.6% in February 2020.
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The increase was mainly driven by rising transport and food prices.
“Over the past 14 months, consumer price inflation was relatively subdued throughout the lockdown. The lockdown began on 27 March 2020. Headline inflation retreated from 4.6% in February 2020 to 3% in April 2020. The rate bottomed out at 2.1% in May 2020, the lowest reading in just more than 15 years,” Patrick Kelly, chief director of Price Statistics, said.
Transport and petrol prices
The annual transport inflation rate jumped to 10.6% due to a rise in the cost of fuel, public transport and new vehicles.
Petrol prices had reached their highest level on record as inland 95 octane petrol cost R17.32 per litre in April, R1.00 more than in March.
The annual inflation rate for petrol was 21.4% in April, with a monthly rise of 5.4%.
“Fuel prices have ratcheted up significantly in recent months, with about two thirds of the 21.4% increase accumulating during February, March and April. By comparison, there was a 12.8% annual drop in fuel prices in April 2020,” Kelly said.
Public transport fares increased 5.1% in April 2021 compared to April 2020 and new vehicle prices climbed 5.5% over the same period.
Food and non-alcoholic drinks
Food and non-alcoholic beverages saw a monthly increase of 0.9% and an annual rise of 6.3%, which was the highest it has been since 6.8% in July 2017.
Four food and non-alcoholic beverages groups recorded above average annual and monthly price increases in April:
- Meat prices increased by 7.1% in April from 6.7% in March. This is due to increases in stewing beef (12.1%) and chicken portions (6.3%)
- Prices for milk, eggs and cheese products rose by 7.8% over the past 12 months, which higher than the 7.2% recorded in March. The monthly rate rose to 9.2%, which is the highest since March 2017.
- Oil and fat prices increased by 16.7% over 12 months, the highest since August 2016 when the rate was 17.6%. Prices increased by 4.1% between April and March 2021. Cooking oil prices rose 21.6% over the past 12 months.
- The annual rate for alcoholic beverages and tobacco rose to 4.8% in April compared to 3.7% recorded in March. The monthly increase in April was 0.5%. Almost half of the 12 month increase occurred in the first four months of 2021.
— Stats SA (@StatsSA) May 19, 2021
You can download the April 2021 CPI release here.