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South Africa Inflation Slows Ahead Of Elections

The central bank has set a target for inflation of between three and six percent and kept its main interest rate unchanged at 8.25 percent in March.


FILES: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (Photo by Marco Longari / AFP)

 

Inflation in South Africa eased for the first time this year in March, dropping 0.3 percentage points to 5.3 percent, official data showed on Wednesday, ahead of general elections in May.

Following a two-month upswing, the decrease helped keep the rate within the central bank’s official target range, national statistics agency StatsSA said.

“The rate has held its ground between 5 percent and 6 percent since September 2023,” it said.

After reaching a peak of 14 percent a year ago, the inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages slowed to 5.1 percent in March from 6.1 percent in February.

This was “the lowest annual increase since September 2020”, StatsSA said.

Up 6.3 percent, 6.0 percent and 5.9 percent respectively, education, health and housing were among the categories registering the highest annual price changes.

The economy is among voters’ main concerns as South Africans head to the poll on May 29 amid high unemployment, poverty and sluggish growth.

The central bank has set a target for inflation of between three and six percent and kept its main interest rate unchanged at 8.25 percent in March.