South African food inflation continued to slow in January

In January, for the second consecutive month, South African food and non-alcoholic beverage (NAB) inflation (hereinafter referred to as food inflation, for short) fell, year-on-year, the Bureau for Food said . and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) in its latest “Food Inflation Brief”. In January, year-on-year food inflation stood at 7.2%; the figure for December was 8.5% and for November 9%. Monthly food inflation in January was 0.6%. South Africa’s headline consumer price index inflation in January was 5.3%, to which food inflation contributed 1.3 percentage points.

Load shedding (scheduled and rotating power cuts imposed by the national electricity company Eskom, due to lack of production capacity) remains a persistent “challenge” for the country’s food and agricultural sector, noted the BFAP. The prices of electricity and “other fuels” increased by 15.2% year-on-year, although the price of “fuel” fell by 5.2%, also year-on-year. Another external factor affecting the sector was the rand/dollar exchange rate, which saw the rand depreciate by 10% year-on-year, from 17.09 R:$1.00 to 18.79 A: $1.00.

The food categories and products that suffered the highest year-over-year inflation in January were foods high in sugar (18.5%), dairy and eggs (13%), vegetables (12%). .6%), fruits (10.2%), NAB (8.1%), bread and cereals (6.5%), fish (4.4%) and meat (2.2%). Oils and fats experienced deflation of -5.3% over one year. In monthly terms, the highest inflation was recorded in fruits (1.4%), foods high in sugar (0.9%), meat (also 0.9%), vegetables (0. 7%), fish (0.6%), bread and cereals. (0.5%), NAB (0.4%) and oils and fats (0.2%). Dairy products and eggs recorded monthly deflation of -0.2%.

In annual terms, commonly purchased food items with inflation at or above 30% were (in BFAP order and categorizations) sweet potatoes, potatoes; oranges; and Ceylon/black tea. Those with inflation between 20% and just under 30% were rice, frozen chips, instant noodles; broccoli, pumpkin; avocados, pears, apples, papayas, bananas; eggs; launderers; sugar; and instant coffee. The food products whose inflation was between 10% and just under 20% were red beets, tomatoes; Pineapple; frozen fish fingers, frozen hake, corned beef; condensed milk, gouda, cheddar, powdered milk, yogurt; peanut butter, canned baked beans; and rooibos tea. The food items that experienced year-over-year deflation in January were white bread; lettuce, spinach, onions; beef (chuck, mince, T-bone, stew meat, brisket, tenderloin, rump steak, sirloin); pork (tenderloin, ribs, chops); mutton/lamb (neck, thigh, chop, stew meat); and sunflower and canola oil.

The cost of the BFAP Healthy and Thrifty Food Basket (THFB) increased by 7.4%, or R337, year-on-year, and by 1.2%, or R3.37, year-on-year. month to month. The THFB is comprised of 26 nutritionally balanced food items from all food groups and is designed to feed a low-income reference family of two adults and one older and one younger child for a month. In January, the purchase of the THFB would have consumed 32.5% of such a family’s income.

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