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Fuel price hike pushes SA inflation high

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On Wednesday, a 3.2% spike in the consumer price index (CPI), higher than June’s 2.2% was recorded, Statistics South Africa has revealed.

A hike in fuel prices as the country moved into level 2 of the Covid-19 lockdown has reportedly driven the increase in consumer price index (CPI), a financial instrument used to measure inflation.

In a statement on Wednesday,Statistics South Africa said motorists felt the pinch on the rise of fuel in July.

“Motorists felt some pain as the price of inland 95-octane petrol climbed from R13.40 per litre in June to R15.12 per litre in July. The average price for a litre of diesel jumped from R13.13 to R14.62.”

According to Stats SA, despite the rise, fuel prices are still 6.2% cheaper this year than they were in July 2019, when the price of 95-octane fuel was R15.81 per litre.

The report suggests that prices of funeral ceremonies rose exponentially due the strict compulsory sanitisation protocols in light of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic set regulations,thereby negatively impacting the consumers budget.

Stats SA confirmed this on Wednesday, saying: “Funeral expenses increased sharply in July, rising by 8.7% year-on-year.”

This is far higher than the 1.1% annual rise recorded in April (funeral-related prices are recorded once a quarter). Prices for gravestones increased by 3.2% in July, higher than April’s 0.3%.

Making it worse, bread prices did not spare the consumer, who has seen a monthly increase of white bread and brown bread by 2% and 2,3% respectively, between June and July 2020.

On the same vein, local authorities have however overally reduced tariffs to cushion consumers from the current economic hardships. Stats SA has confirmed a decrease in the current prices of municipal tariffs compared to July 2019.

Electricity tariffs increased by 6.3% this year, lower than July 2019’s rise of 10.5% during the same period.

Water tariffs increased by 9.9% from a previous 10.3% and municipal rates increased by 3.5% from a previous 6.3%.

Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News

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