The National Bureau of Statistics reported that Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation rose by 8.5 percent (year-on-year) in March 2015, which was marginally higher from the 8.4 percent rate recorded the previous month.
This is the fourth consecutive month of a faster increase in the headline index to reach the highest inflation rate recorded for the year. The headline rate for March also equals last year’s high recorded in August.
While the pace of increase in food prices held firm for the second consecutive month, the faster increase in the Headline index was driven by increases in the non-food COICOP divisions. This was also reflected in the Core sub-index.
Food prices as observed by the Food Sub-index increased at relatively the same pace in March as in February; by 9.4 percent. The pace of increases was weighted upon by a slower increase in the Bread and Cereals, Oils and Fats, Dairy and Confectionary groups. Faster increases were observed in all other groups which contribute to the Food sub-index.
The pace of advances recorded by the “All Items less Farm Produce” or Core sub-index increased for the third consecutive month in March.
The Core Sub-index increased by 7.5 percent (year-on-year), 0.5 percentage points from 7.0 percent recorded in February. Prices increased at a faster pace in most divisions that contribute to the Core sub-index except for the Communications, and Recreational and Culture Divisions which increased at a slower pace.
It should be noted that the Headline Index is made up of the Core Index and Farm Produce items. As Processed Foods are included in both the Core and Food sub-indices, this implies that these sub-indices are not mutually-exclusive.
After a slight respite in February, the Headline index increased in March, increasing by 0.9 percent (month-on month).
This was 0.2 percentage points higher from month-on-month rates recorded in February. Prices increased increase at a faster pace across most COICOP divisions, with the exception being Communication which increased at a slower pace.
Year-on-year, both the Urban and Rural Price Indices recorded faster increases in March. The Urban index increased by 8.6 percent, 0.2 percentage points from February, while the Rural index increased marginally from 8.3 percent in February to 8.4 percent in March. On a month-on-month basis, both the Urban and Rural indices increased at a faster pace in March, increasing by 0.9 percent.
The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending in March over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was 8.2 percent, marginally higher from 8.1 percent in February. The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the Urban index increased marginally to at 8.3 percent in March, while the corresponding change in the Rural index also increased marginally to 8.1percent.
In March, the pace of price increases recorded by the Food sub-index (year-on-year) firmed at 9.4 percent for the second consecutive month.
On a month-on-month basis, food prices increased at a faster rate in March relative to February. Food prices increased by 1.0 percent, up by 0.3 percentage points from rates recorded in February. The rate recorded in March also mirrors price increases recoded during the period last year. Price increases were recorded across all groups that contribute to the Food sub-index On a month-on-month basis, the highest price increases were recorded in the Fruit, Fish, Potatoes, Yam & Other Tubers, and Vegetables groups. The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending in March 2015 over the previous twelve month average was 9.5 percent. The twelve month rate of change has held steady for ten consecutive months.
The pace of increases in the “All items less Farm Produce” or Core index, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce increased at a faster pace for the third consecutive month. Prices rose by 7.5 percent (year-on-year), up by 0.5 percentage points from 7.0 percent in February with the strongest increases recorded in the Clothing and Footwear, and Miscellaneous Goods & Services divisions On a month-on-month basis, the Core Sub-index increased marginally by 0.8 percent after increasing at the same pace for previous two months at 0.7 percent. The largest increases were recorded in the Passenger transport by Air, Miscellaneous services relating to the dwelling; Appliances, Articles and Products for Personal Care, and Repair of Household Appliances groups amongst others. The average 12 month annual rate of rise of the index was recorded at 6.9 percent for the twelve-month period ending in March 2015, unchanged from the 12 month rate recorded in January.