THE annual rate of inflation has marginally decreased to 15.5 per cent in August, down from 15.8 per cent recorded in July, mainly induced by price decreases in food items, according to the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZSA).

Announcing Zambia’s annual rate of inflation for the month of August, ZSA Interim Statistician General Mulenga Musepa said that the reduced inflation this month was largely attributable to reduced food prices.

“The year-on-year inflation rate as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August, 2020, decreased to 15.5 per cent from 15.8 per cent recorded in July, 2020. This means that on average, prices of goods and services increased by 15.5 per cent between August, 2019, and August, 2020. The slowdown in the annual rate of inflation was attributed to price decreases in food items,” Musepa told journalists via video conference in Lusaka, Thursday.

He added that the reduction in the annual food inflation rate, which dampened the overall annual rate of inflation, was largely driven by price reductions in mealie meal and vegetables.

“The year-on-year (annual) food inflation rate for August, 2020, was recorded at 15.5 per cent compared to 16.1 per cent recorded in July, 2020, indicating a decrease of 0.6 percentage points. This development was mainly attributed to reductions in prices of food items, such as cereals (Breakfast mealie meal, Roller meal, maize grain, millet) and vegetables (rape, sweet potatoe leaves, tomatoes, cabbage, pumpkin),” Musepa said.

“The year-on-year non-food inflation rate for August, 2020, was recorded at 15.4 per cent same as that recorded in July, 2020.”

Of the total 15.5 per cent annual inflation rate recorded this month, food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 8.3 percentage points, while non-food items accounted for 7.2 percentage points, according to Musepa.

ZSA data shows that Zambia’s annual rate of inflation of 15.5 per cent recorded this month, peaked to a near four-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 that year at 7.5 per cent.

The BoZ 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, but is due to slow down on the back of a maize bumper harvest produced this year.