The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has announced that the annual rate of inflation for the month of June has increased to 6.8 per cent from last month’s 6.5 per cent.

According to CSO Director of Census and Statistics John Kalumbi who announced the monthly inflation statistics at the Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola, the increase is due to an upward adjustment in electricity tariffs.

He said the increase was a reflection that on average prices of commodities had increased by 6.8 per cent between June last year and June 2017. Kalumbi said the annual food inflation rate for June was recorded at 5.8 per cent as compared to 5.9 per cent recorded in May, while the non-food inflation rate for the said period had increased from 7.3 per cent to 8.0 per cent.

The CSO Director said provincial changes in inflation rate show that between June 2016 and June 2017, Copperbelt had the largest annual rate of inflation at 8.1 per cent followed by North Western Province at 7.8 per cent. He said Western Province recorded the lowest rate at 5.1 per cent and that Lusaka had the highest contribution rate of two percentage point to overall 6.8 per cent annual inflation rate for June.

Kalumbi further said the country recorded a trade deficit value of K 333.1 million in May from K 1, 166,6oo,ooo recorded in April which represented a 71.4 per cent decrease. He said this was because the country imported more than it exported in nominal terms.

And Kalumbi said the country’s economy in the first quarter of this year grew by three per cent. He said among the sectors which contributed to the growth was electricity generation which grew highest by 25 per cent. Others were agriculture, forestry and fisheries.