Annual consumer price inflation slowed to 7,5% in September from 7,6% in August, edging further down from the 13-year high of 7,8% recorded in July. Fuel prices declined for a second consecutive month, contributing to the softer headline rate.
The monthly change in the consumer price index (CPI) for September was 0,1%, lower than 0,2% recorded in August.
For much of this year, inflation was mainly driven by sharp increases in food & non-alcoholic beverages (NAB) and fuel prices. The CPI excluding these two categories registered an annual increase of 4,9%, up from 4,6% in August, indicating that higher inflation has spread beyond these two groups.
Fuel prices decline further
Fuel prices declined by 6,4% between August and September. This slowed the annual rate to 34,1%, which is down from the high of 56,2% reported in July.
Food inflation shows signs of softening
Although annual food & NAB inflation continues to accelerate, monthly price changes were softer in September. Annual food & NAB inflation increased to 11,9% from 11,3% in August. The 0,5% monthly increase, however, was lower than the 1,8% monthly rise recorded in August.
Bread & cereal and meat inflation showed a similar pattern. The annual rate for bread & cereals accelerated to a 13-year high of 19,3% in September. The monthly rate was 1,3%, softer than the 3,1% reading in August. Annual meat inflation increased from 9,2% to 9,9%, while the monthly reading slowed from 0,7% to 0,5%.
After sustained price increases during much of the year, the index for oils & fats tumbled by 6,1% between August and September. This dragged the annual rate down to 29,0% from 37,6% in August. Prices for sunflower oil decreased by 8,0% in the month, with the average price of a 750 ml bottle of cooking oil falling to R41,38 from a high of R45,33 in July. Despite this decrease, the price is still significantly higher than the R30,98 consumers paid in September 2021.
Notable price increases for rentals, clothing, accommodation services and personal care
Data informing both actual and imputed rentals is included in the CPI every quarter. The annual rate for actual rentals in September was 2,8%, the highest reading since February 2020 (3,0%). Imputed rentals increased by 3,2%, the highest annual reading since August 2019 (3,3%).
Clothing and footwear prices increased by 2,8% from September 2021, the highest annual rise since August 2017 (2,9%). Prices for accommodation services1 increased by 6,0% between August and September. This took the annual rate for accommodation services to 10,5%, the highest it has been since March 2014 (10,9%). Personal care products registered an annual rate of 8,3%, the highest since December 2009 (9,7%). The monthly increase for personal care products was 1,9%, more than double the 0,8% recorded in August.
Price increases currently hitting consumer pockets
The charts below show the products that recorded the largest percentage price increases in September.
For more information, download the September 2022 CPI statistical release, time series data and average product prices here.
1 Accommodation services includes hotels, bed & breakfast establishments and student residences.
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