Headline CPI increased by 6 % between October 2010 and October 2011. Food and non-alcoholic
beverages inflation increased by 10.6 % between October 2010 and October 2011, the highest level since
May 2009. Since October 2010, food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation has shown a strong increasing
trend, from 1 % to 10.6 % in the past year. The annual increase in food and non-alcoholic beverages
inflation was largely driven by the annual increases in oils and fats (22.6 %), sugar (14.9 %), meat (14.6 %)
and vegetables (11.8 %). The prices of processed food products increased by 10.3 % from October 2010 to
October 2011 and the price of unprocessed food products increased by 11.5 % over the same period.
When comparing selected countries, China showed the highest food inflation of 11.9 % in October 2011.
Botswana experienced food price inflation of 8.3 % in October 2011. The international real food price index
decresed by 4 % on a month-to-month basis in October 2011. On an annual basis, the food price index
showed an increase of 8.68 %. The international food price index is currently at its lowest level since
During October 2011, rural consumers paid R 8.95 more than urban consumers for the same food basket, a
significantly lower price difference than usually reported. Food items showing the largest price difference in
October 2011 were rice (2 kg) and margarine (500 g). The price of rice (2 kg) and margarine (500 g) were
respectively R 4.59 and R 2.90 more expensive in the rural areas compared to the urban areas.
From October 2010 to October 2011 the cost of a basic food basket increased by about R44.53 (+12.1%)
in nominal terms (compared to 6.7% from July 2010 to July 2011). This cost expressed as a share of the
average monthly income of the poorest 30% of the population increased from 32.4% in October 2010 to
36.4% in October 2011, representing the highest share during this analysis period. The cost of the food
basket expressed as a share of the average monthly income of the wealthiest 30% of the population
increased slightly from 2.6% to 2.9%.
When comparing the costs associated with the typical portion sizes of very poor consumers for the five
most widely consumed food items in South Africa, based on October 2011 versus October 2010 prices, the
results in Figure 6 indicate inflation of about 15.1 % (from R3.05 to R3.51 for the selection of portions).