Harare – July saw several Southern African countries witnessing a surge in inflation as governments battled the negative economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The surge was largely seen in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Angola’s annual inflation rate rose for the fourth straight month to 25.72 percent – its highest since October 2017 – as the kwanza failed to sustain the slight appreciation of recent months. On a monthly basis, consumer prices were up 2.1 percent, the same pace as in June. Upward pressure came mostly from prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages (2.6 percent), furnishings, health, and clothing and footwear (all two percent).
Tanzania’s annual inflation reached 3.8 percent in July from 3.6 percent in June, the highest since December 2019, mainly boosted by prices of food & non-alcoholic beverages (5.1 percent vs 4.7 percent in June); housing and utilities (3.5 percent vs 3.2 percent); transport (4.3 percent vs 3.8 percent); and clothing & footwear (4.5 percent vs 4.4 percent).
“The increase in headline inflation rate means that, the speed of price change for commodities for the year ended July 2021 has increased compared to the speed that was recorded for the year ended June 2021,” said Tanzania’s NBS acting director for Population Census and Social Statistics, Ms Ruth Minja.
In July 1, the Tanzanian government adjusted fuel prices upwards to fund the 2021/22 national budget.
Botswana was not spared the upward trend.
Core consumer prices increased seven percent in July compared to the same time last year. Botswana’s annual inflation rate advanced to 8.9 percent from 8.2 percent in June, reaching its highest level since December of 2011.
Main upward pressure came from transport (20.9 percent vs 17.4 percent); furnishings (4.3 percent vs 3.7 percent); and miscellaneous goods and services (6.6 percent vs six percent).
The annual inflation rate in Mozambique was 5.48 percent in July of 2021, slightly down from 5.52 percent the prior month. In Zambia, the consumer price index increased 0.3 percent in July from the previous month, while the annual inflation was unchanged at 24.6 percent – though that is still the highest the country has seen since March 2005.
The consumer price index in Namibia increased 0.2 percent in July over the previous month, but annual inflation eased to four percent from 4.1 percent in June.
According to the Africa Pulse report, the continent’s median inflation rate is projected to rise moderately to 3.7 percent in 2021, from an estimated 3.5 percent in 2020, in part due to high food prices and currency depreciation in some countries.
“Disruption to food supply chains has pushed food prices higher and fuel prices have rebounded, adding to inflationary pressures. However, the median figure masks considerable differences between countries across the region. Among oil exporters, the median inflation rate is expected to ease to 3.5 percent in 2021, from an estimated 5.8 percent in 2020, reflecting weak domestic demand.
“Nonetheless, inflation pressures are expected to remain particularly high in Angola and Nigeria — the region’s two largest oil exporters.”