THE annual rate of inflation has risen to 16.6 per cent in May, up from 15.7 per cent recorded in April, the highest on record since September, 2016, according to the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZSA).
Announcing Zambia’s annual rate of inflation for the month of May, ZSA Interim Statistician General Mulenga Musepa said that the continued rise in inflation this month was largely attributable to increased food and non-food prices.
“The year-on-year inflation rate as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May, 2020, increased to 16.6 per cent from 15.7 per cent recorded in April, 2020. This means that on average, prices of goods and services increased by 16.6 per cent between May, 2019, and May, 2020,” Musepa told journalists via video conference in Lusaka, Thursday.
“The increase in the annual rate of inflation was mainly attributed to price increases in food and non-food items.”
He added that the rise in both food and non-food inflation rate had increased, which fed into the overall annual rate of inflation, largely driven by price increases of basic food items, such as cooking oil and household sugar.
“The year-on-year (annual) food inflation rate for May, 2020, was recorded at 17.5 per cent compared to 17 per cent recorded in April, 2020, indicating an increase of 0.5 percentage points. This development was mainly attributed to increases in prices of food items such as as fish (i.e dried bream, frozen fish (Bukabuka), meats (i.e fillet steak, mixed cut, beef sausage) and oils and fats (i.e cooking oil, margarine and butter) and other foods (i.e table salt and soups),” Musepa added.
“The year-on-year non-food inflation rate for May, 2020, was recorded at 15.5 per cent compared to 14.2 per cent recorded in April, 2020, indicating an increase of 1.3 percentage points. This increase was mainly attributed to price changes in items, such as charcoal, household textiles (i.e. bed sheets, blankets and foam mattress), soaps, and pharmaceutical products (Cafenol, Asprin, Fansidar, Asthma Cure, No Cough).”
Of the total 16.6 per cent annual inflation rate recorded this month, food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 9.3 percentage points, while non-food items accounted for 7.3 percentage points, according to Musepa.
ZSA data reveals that Zambia’s annual rate of inflation of 16.6 per cent recorded in May, 2020, peaked to an over three-year high since September, 2016, when inflation was at 18.9 per cent, reducing to 12.5 per cent in October, 2016, before it dropped to close 2016 at 7.5 per cent.
The BoZ has projected that the country’s annual rate of inflation will remain high over the forecast period of eight quarters up to the end of next year, mainly driven by high food prices.