Inflation falls to a three-month low

South Africa’s annual inflation rate was 3,0% in September, lower than the rates recorded in July (3,2%) and August (3,1%). The change in the consumer price index between August 2020 and September 2020 was 0,2%, identical to the reading in the previous month.


The alcoholic beverages and tobacco division was the main reason for the monthly rise, contributing 0,1 of a percentage point to the rate of 0,2%. Cigarette prices increased sharply by 3,0% month-on-month, pushing the annual rate for tobacco to 6,8%.

Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 0,3% month-on-month and by 3,9% on an annual basis. The annual rate was unchanged from the previous month and identical to the annual rate recorded in September 2019.

Steady food inflation is underpinned by stable rates for important products such as bread and meat. Annual bread and cereals inflation was 2,7% in September 2020. The rate has remained in the 2,7%‒2,8% range since May 2020. The annual rate for meat was 4,4% in September 2020. This is below the average of 4,7% recorded for meat in 2020 so far.

Hot beverage prices jumped sharply between August and September, rising by 2,3%. Large monthly price increases were recorded for instant coffee (up 1,6%), black tea (up 3,4%), Rooibos tea (up 1,1%) and coffee beans/ground coffee (up 3,5%). Hot beverages are on average 4,3% more expensive than they were a year ago.

The September CPI includes results of the most recent housing rents survey, which is conducted quarterly. Combined, imputed and actual rentals contribute 16,8% of the weights in the CPI basket.

The annual rate for rentals has been steadily declining since September 2017 when it was 5,7%. This quarter’s annual change (for both actual and imputed rents) is 1,4%. This is the lowest reading since 2008 when Stats SA began its rental survey.


For more information, download the latest 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.