Inflation softens for a second month

Annual consumer price inflation edged lower to 4,6% in July from 4,9% in June and 5,2% in May.


The monthly increase in the consumer price index (CPI) in July was 1,1%, the highest monthly jump since July 2020 when the CPI increased by 1,3%. The primary drivers behind the monthly rise were alcoholic beverages, housing & utilities, transport and medical insurance.

Food & non-alcoholic beverages was the largest contributor to the annual rate, with price increases remaining steady at 6,7%, unchanged from June and May. The monthly rate was 0,2%, the same as the previous monthly increase.

Meat and oils & fats continue to exert upward pressure, with meat prices rising by 9,4% over the past twelve months. This rate has climbed steadily since August 2020 and is currently at its highest level since March 2018. Inflation for oils & fats also continues to escalate, reaching an annual rate of 22,4%, the highest in almost 10 years (October 2011).

Sugar, sweets & desserts inflation has slowed, from a 12-month high of 9,7% in October 2020 to 6,5% in July 2021.

Prices for alcoholic beverages recorded a monthly rise of 1,7% in July, the highest increase since March 2019. Red and white wine prices increased sharply, both recording a 3,8% rise in July from June.

Municipalities typically increase service charges in July and August with the beginning of the municipal financial year. Although water charges increased by less than last year, hikes for electricity and assessment rates were higher than in 2020. Water charges increased by 7,0% (compared with 9,9% in 2020), electricity tariffs by 13,8% (compared with 6,3% in 2020), and assessment rates by 4,3% (compared with 3,5% in 2020).

Fuel prices increased by 1,7% between June and July. This took the annual rate to 15,2%, down from June’s reading of 27,5%.

The inclusion of new price changes for medical insurance (medical aid) took the annual rate for this category from 4,6% in June to 5,9% in July.

For more information, download the July 2021 Consumer Price Index (CPI) release here.


Similar articles are available on the Stats SA website and can be accessed here.

For a monthly overview of economic indicators and infographics, catch the latest edition of the Stats Biz newsletter here.