Inflation slows further

Out of reach: Cooking oil prices have risen by an average 36% in the last 12 months
Out of reach: Cooking oil prices have risen by an average 36% in the last 12 months

The annual rate of inflation slowed to 9.1 percent in February, from 9.3 percent in January, but price pressure remains on basic commodities, particularly cooking oil and vegetables.

Statistics Botswana figures released earlier today show that the reduction in annual inflation between January and February was largely due to base effects related to price increases in February 2022.

In an update, Statistics Botswana noted that major contributors to the annual inflation rate in February 2023 were Transport, Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels, as well as other Miscellaneous Goods & Services.

Inflation has been trending down since its peak in August last year at 14.6%, with both food and fuel prices generally cooling from their highs in the first half of last year. Inflation last month fell despite the average 80 thebe increase in retail fuel pump prices effected on February 28. Analysts expect the fuel price increase to be reflected in the March inflation figures, which will be published next month. Although inflation is easing, the 9.1 percent for February, from which the 2022 inflation peak is excluded, represents the fastest cost of living increase since 2011.

Indices tracking individual price groups also show the enduring price pressure on households, with average oil and fat prices up 36% in the 12 months to February and average vegetable prices up 22% over that period. Bread and cereal prices are up 26% over the same period, indicating that the rate of increase in the prices of basic commodities continues to significantly exceed average inflation. Cereals include maize, wheat, millet, rice, and sorghum.

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