Harare - Lockdown and mobility restrictions in 2020 resulted in reduced demand for goods and services, hence low inflation rates.
However, the start of 2021 took a different turn as inflation started ticking upwards, mostly due to rising food prices.
The United Nations and the World Bank forecast that global food prices will continue to rise through this year.
Zambia’s December 2020 annual inflation was 19,2 percent, rising to 21,5 percent in January 2021, meaning that on average, prices of goods and services increased by 21,5 percent in a month.
The annual non-food inflation rate for January 2021 was recorded at 16,7 percent, down from 18,1 percent in December 2020.
The annual inflation rate in Namibia rose to 2,4 percent in December 2020 from 2,2 percent in the previous month. Pressure mostly came from prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages (7,6 percent vs seven percent in November); education (unchanged at seven percent); miscellaneous goods and services (5,6 percent vs five percent); communications (4,3 percent vs 4,1 percent); and furniture (3,9 percent vs 3,4 percent).
Zimbabwe's annual consumer price inflation rose to 362,3 percent in January 2021 from 348,59 percent the previous month, breaking a run of five consecutive months of slowdown.
The inflation rate in Tanzania increased to 3,5 percent in January from 3,2 percent in December 2020; while in Mozambique the rate rose for the fourth straight month to 3,52 percent in December 2020 - its highest since February.
Angola's annual inflation rate surged for a 14th straight month to 25,1 percent in December 2020, amid an on-going currency depreciation due to the twin impacts of COVID-19 and subdued oil prices. Main upward pressure came from the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages (2,4 percent vs 2,3 percent in November); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (two percent vs 1,9 percent); health (1,9 percent vs 2,1 percent); housing an utilities (1,8 percent vs 1,3 percent); clothing and footwear (1,9 percent vs 2,1 percent); and miscellaneous goods and services (1,9 percent vs 1,8 percent).
The annual inflation rate in Seychelles climbed to 7,6 percent in January 2021 from 3,8 percent the prior month, reaching its highest level since August 2012. Prices rose faster for fresh fish (29,7 percent vs -7,2 percent in December); other food (15,6 percent vs 9,5 percent) and non-food products (6,1 percent vs 3,1 percent). On a monthly basis, consumer prices surged 3.8 percent, after increasing 1,5 percent the prior month.
South Africa recorded an average annual inflation rate of 3,3 percent for 2020, the lowest since 2004 (1,4 percent) and the second lowest since 1969 (three percent). One of the reasons cited for this was a firmer rand against the greenback.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages were the main drivers of inflation in December, with a monthly increase of 0,5 percent and an annual rise of six percent. This was up from November’s annual reading of 5,8 percent.