Annual inflation printed at 3.1 percent in October from 3.2 percent in September, with food and non-alcoholic beverages continuing to dominate price movements over the 12 months.
In the 12 months to October, food inflation was measured at 6.5 percent down from 7.7 percent in September, representing the highest price increase for specific goods and services.
According to figures released by Statistics Botswana on Wednesday, the stubborn food prices are being driven largely by vegetables, where average prices rose 11.2% in the 12 months to October. Average prices of fish, fruits, meat and bread are all eight percent higher over the 12 months, underlining the pressure consumers have been under in terms of basic commodities despite the overall drop in inflation.
Inflation, or the general increase in the prices of goods and services, has been on the decline this year, moving from a 14-year high of 14.6% last August, to 9.3 percent at the start of the year and 1.2 percent in August – a 35-month low.
However, the decline has largely been due to the slide in fuel prices earlier this year and more stable price movements in other commodity groups outside of food and non-alcoholic products. The strong food prices are despite government zero rating several items for Value Added Tax such as salt, vegetables, cooking oil, infant formula and others earlier this year.
Finance Minister Peggy Serame said this was an effort to provide “targeted support and sustain livelihoods”.