South Africa’s annual inflation rate nudged up to 4,6% in February from January’s 4,5%, inching past the 4,5% midpoint of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range. The last time the inflation rate was above the midpoint was in November 2018 when the rate was 5,2%.
The monthly shift in consumer prices – the change from January 2020 to February 2020 – was 1,0%. This is the highest monthly increase since February 2017 when the rate was 1,1%. A rise in food and non-alcoholic beverage prices and medical insurance fees were notable contributors to the 1,0% increase.
The annual rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages was 4,2%, higher than the 3,7% recorded in January. Annual bread and cereals inflation slowed from 6,0% in January to 4,8% in February. Annual meat inflation increased from 2,4% to 4,1%.
In February, Stats SA surveyed the prices of medical insurance, as well as the fees charged by private-sector medical practitioners and hospitals. Medical aid fees increased by 9,0% over the last year. This is higher than that recorded in 2019 (8,3%) and 2018 (8,0%), but lower than the figure recorded in 2017 (9,8%).
Doctors’ fees are 5,1% more expensive than they were a year ago. Dentists’ fees have increased by 4,8% and hospital fees by 3,9%.
Prices for medicines are surveyed every month. Medical products recorded an annual increase of 6,4%. Pain killers are 10,2% more expensive than they were a year ago and vitamin prices have increased by 9,1%.
For more information, download the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) release here.
1 Medical aid costs are classified under insurance, and the rest under health.
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