Softer fuel prices take the edge off inflation in August

Annual consumer inflation dipped to 7,6% in August from 7,8% in July. The monthly increase in the consumer price index (CPI) was 0,2%, the lowest reading since January 2022 when it was also 0,2%.


Fuel prices decreased by 3,8% between July and August, with petrol falling by 5,0% and diesel by 0,9%. This pushed the annual rate for fuel down to 43,2% from 56,2% in July. The welcome decrease in the cost of fuel had an impact on the overall transport index, which declined by 1,0% between July and August.

In contrast to fuel, food inflation continued upwards. The food and non-alcoholic beverages (NAB) index increased by 11,3% in the twelve months to August, higher than the reading of 9,7% in July. Annual food and NAB inflation has climbed significantly from the recent low of 6,0% in April this year and has remained above 5,0% since October 2020. Nine of the eleven food and NAB categories recorded an annual inflation rate above 8,0% in August.

Bread & cereals registered an increase of 3,1% between July and August, pushing the annual rate from 13,7% to 17,8%. Maize meal increased by 4,8% from July, taking the annual rate to 29,1%1. Brown bread registered a monthly rise of 2,2% and cake flour 3,9%.

Annual meat inflation eased slightly from 9,4% in July to 9,2% in August, with a monthly increase of 0,7%. Annual meat inflation has remained above 8,0% since May 2021.

Prices for milk, eggs & cheese increased by 2,1% between July and August. Products with higher than average monthly increases include cheddar cheese (3,1%), low fat milk (2,9%) and full cream milk (2,6%).

Oils & fats hit another annual high – 37,6% in August, up from 36,2% in July. The monthly rate, however, has slowed from its peak of 10,1% in May this year to 1,1% in August.

Hot beverage prices steamed to their highest annual rate in 64 months at 11,8% (compared with 12,1% in April 2017), stirred up by monthly increases in rooibos tea (7,6%) and instant coffee (3,9%).

Household cleaning products (detergents) recorded significant price increases. Washing powder is 26,2% more expensive than a year ago. Laundry soap will set you back an additional 33,9% compared with August last year, and the price of dishwashing liquid has climbed by 13,6% over the same period. Overall, the price index for cleaning and maintenance products increased by 23,4% over the past 12 months.

The charts below list the products that recorded the largest annual and monthly price increases in August.


For more information, download the August 2022 CPI statistical release, time series data and average product prices here.

1 Comparing maize meal (in August 2022) with super maize meal (in August 2021).

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