Harare – Southern African countries witnessed a rise in food prices in May and June 2021, according to the Economist journal.
Botswana’s annual inflation rate quickened to 6.2 percent in June from 5.6 percent in May, reaching its highest level since April of 2013. The main pressure came from the prices of transport (8.9 percent versus 7.4 percent in April); housing and utilities (6.6 percent vs 6.4 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (13 percent vs 11.7 percent); and miscellaneous goods and services (six percent vs 5.8 percent).
The annual inflation rate in South Africa climbed to 5.2 percent in May 2021 from 4.4 percent a month earlier, in line with market expectations. It was the highest inflation rate since November 2018, due largely to last year’s low base. Main upward pressure came from the prices of transport (15.3 percent) on account of fuels (37.4 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (6.7 percent); housing and utilities (2.3 percent); and miscellaneous goods and services (4.1 percent).
There was some relief in Namibia where annual inflation eased to 3.8 percent in May from 3.9 percent in April, though it was still well above June 2019 levels. Prices slowed for transport, furnishings, alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Costs climbed for food and non-alcoholic beverages (6.6 percent vs 5.9 percent).
Tanzania’s annual inflation rate stood at 3.3 percent in May of 2021, unchanged from the previous month.
In Zambia, the inflation rate increased to 24.6 percent in June from 23.2 percent in May 2021. The increase in the annual rate of inflation was mainly attributed to price increases in food items. Annual food inflation for June 2021 was recorded at 31.2 percent compared to 28.5 percent in May 2021.
Continent-wide, there are pockets of high inflation, with Southern African state Zimbabwe topping at 194 percent year-on-year. However, Zimbabwe’s month-on-month rate fell to 106 percent in June 2021.
Other countries experiencing high inflation are (46.8 percent), Angola (24.8 percent), and the DRC (20.4 percent), with the latter two also being members of the Southern African Development Community.
The World Bank says global inflation is likely to continue rising over the rest of 2021, though the projection is that rates will within the targets of countries that implement inflation-targeting policies.
“Higher global inflation may complicate the policy choices of emerging market and developing economies in coming months as some of these economies still rely on expansionary support measures to ensure a durable recovery. Unless risks from record-high debt are addressed, these economies remain vulnerable to financial market stress should investor risk sentiment deteriorate as a result of inflation pressures in advanced economies”, said the World Bank’s Ayhan Kose in a recent statement.