SA’s consumer price inflation races to five-year high

South Africa’s consumer price inflation (CPI) raced to 6.5% in May from 5.9% the previous month, show Statistics SA figures released on Wednesday, pointing the the effect of rising fuel prices.

This makes the figure the highest since 2017 when the rate reached 6.6%

Although fuel is a major contributor to the annual rate, transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages also contribute greatly. The CPI report shows that the inflation rate falls to 5.1% from 6.5% if the impact of fuel is removed.

Diesel takes up most of the annual rate pie amounting to 45% since the prices increased by 8.1% between April and May, while petrol prices accounted for 0.7% in the same period.

“The average price of a litre of diesel in May 2021 was R16.20, meaning it cost R729 to fill a 45-litre tank. Twelve months later, with the average price at R23.67 per litre, filling the same tank costs R1 065,” said Stats SA in its report.

“Petrol prices moderated between April and May, edging lower by 0.7%. Despite this decline, petrol is almost 27% more expensive than it was in May 2021.”

Meanwhile, cooking oil prices continue to soar. Stats SA said food and non-alcoholic beverages’ prices increased by 2.1% between April and May, becoming the highest increase since February 2016 when the rate was at 2.1%.

According to Stats SA, the oils and fats group continues to sustain a high level of inflation as it recorded a 10.1% increase between April and May becoming the highest ever recorded since 1997 when the monthly rate was above 10%. The annual rate was 26.9% in May.

“Sunflower oil, the product with the highest weight in the oils and fats group, is almost 40% more expensive than it was a year ago. Prices jumped by 16.1% between April and May. The monthly rate for bread and cereals was 3.4%, taking the annual rate to 8.4%. Maize meal recorded a monthly increase of 5.1% and a loaf of white bread was 3.7% more expensive,” it said.

Added Stats SA: “Annual meat inflation has remained above the 6% mark since November 2020, with the reading for May 2022 at 9.4%. Prices for individually quick frozen [IQF] chicken portions and stewing beef increased by 13.7% and 12.2%, respectively in the twelve months to May.”

With the inflation rate soaring so drastically, consumers need to buckle up and watch their spending. Saving on grocery shopping would be a great start.

There are several products on the market that can help consumers save on groceries. One of them is a product offered by insurance company Assupol. The company claims its Assupol rewards programme can help consumers save up to R15 000 on groceries a year.

The rewards programme, which includes instantDiscount coupons every month that are redeemable at Shoprite and Checkers, and instantGroceries vouchers redeemable at Shoprite, Checkers and Pick n Pay, could help consumers save about 1 250 on their grocery budget every month.

These are the top 10 most popular coupons on offer:

  • R10 off Sunfoil Triple Refined Sunflower oil 2l
  • R20 off Parmalat 850g (cheddar or gouda)
  • R10 off Black Cat Peanut Butter 800g (smooth/crunchy)
  • R10 off McCain Garden Mix 1kg
  • R10 off Dairymaid Country Fresh Ice Cream 2l
  • R10 off McCain Crispy Oven Chips Crinkle Cut 750g
  • R20 off Allsome Parboiled Rice 10kg
  • R5 off MAQ Dishwashing Liquid 750ml
  • R3 off KOO Baked Beans 410g
  • R10 off McCain French Stir Fry 1kg

Linda Appie from TymeBank said: “The effect of the massive rise in living costs is hard for consumers. Budgets that are already tight need to be tightened even further to manage the impact of these cost increases on their pockets.”

She advises consumers to reorganise their budgets instead of using savings or emergency funds to make up for the shortfall caused by the increases.

“The best place to start is to relook at your spending on things that are not essential, such as entertainment, eating out, or buying take-aways. Ask yourself if it is really a ‘must-have’ or ‘nice-to-have’.

“There are also practical things you can do: to save on electricity, keep the lights on only in areas that you are using, switch off your geyser during the day and only use your car for essential travel – opt for carpooling with colleagues to save on fuel costs,” she said.

Also read: How to save big bucks on groceries

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