TThe Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) indicates that food and
non-alcoholic beverages inflation increased by 10.3% from January 2011 to January 2012; this is down
from the 11.1 % in December 2011. Headline CPI increased to 6.3 % on a year-on-year basis. The CPI
for administered (regulated) prices increased by 13.5 % year-on-year. The CPI excluding food and nonalcoholic
beverages, petrol and energy increased by 4.3 % year-on-year.
At the individual product category level oils and fats, meat, sugar and sweets, vegetables and bread and
cereals all experiences inflation exceeding 10 %. Cognisance should specifically be taken of movement
in the white maize price and associated maize meal prices. The domestic white maize price increased
by 90.41 % compared to January 2011. At the retail level urban consumers paid 41.31 % more for a
super maize meal (5kg) and 63.88 % more for special maize meal (5kg) in January 2012 when compared
to January 2011.
Consumers in rural areas continued to pay higher prices for food than consumers in urban areas. In
January 2012 consumers in rural areas paid R2.37 more for the same food basket than consumers in
urban areas. This difference is, however, substantially lower than experienced over recent months.
From January 2011 to January 2012 the cost of the basic food increased with R54.78 (or 14.3 %) in
nominal terms. The cost of the food basket expressed as a share of the average monthly income of the
poorest 30 % of the population increased from 33.9 % in January 2011 to 38.7 % in January 2012,
representing the highest share during this analysis period
The FAO Food Price Index rebounded for the first time in January 2012 since July 2011. From December
2011 to January 2012, the food price index showed a slight increase again and reached 194.3 index
points in real terms. However, on an annual basis the food price index decreased by 4.40 %. The
decrease was caused by the decrease in the dairy price index (3.66 %), cereals price index (6.23 %), oils
price index (13.22 %) and the sugar price index (17.97 %). The meat price index showed the largest
increase of 10.30 % on an annual basis.
South Africa’s food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation is substantially higher than the food inflation
reported for some African countries and most of the developing countries reviewed in this report.
Overall inflation compare better against developing countries.