South Africa’s inflation rate fell to seven-year low in March, moving further below the midpoint of the central bank’s target range.
Inflation slowed to 3.8% from a year earlier compared to 4% in February, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said Wednesday in a report on its website. The median estimate of 20 economists was 4.1% in a Bloomberg survey. Prices rose 0.4% in the month.
Price growth has remained within the central bank’s target range of 3-6% for a 12th consecutive month, the longest run since 2015. The Reserve Bank projects inflation will remain within the band until at least 2020, stabilising at just more than 5%, according to the Monetary Policy Review released on 11 April.
Policymakers last month cut the repurchase rate by a quarter percentage point to 6.5%, the lowest level in two years, with governor Lesetja Kganyago saying the bank wanted to see inflation close to the midpoint of the target.
Since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascent to power following former President Jacob Zuma’s scandal-ridden tenure, the rand has strengthened against the dollar, gaining 9.1% since mid-December when he was elected leader of the ANC.
Food prices rose 3.6% from a year earlier, less than the 4% increase in February and the slowest rate of growth since December 2013.
Core inflation, excluding the price of food, non-alcoholic beverages, energy and petrol, was 4.1% in March, matching February’s figure. — Reported by Ntando Thukwana, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP