THE annual inflation rate for March 2022 has reduced to 13.1 percent from the 14.2 percent recorded in February.

At a media briefing, Thursday, Zambia Statistics Agency Interim Statistician General Mulenga Musepa said the slowdown in annual inflation was mainly attributed to favourable price movements in food items and non-food items.

“The overall annual inflation slowed to 13.1% in March 2022 from 14.2% in February 2021. I did mention that the change in the CPI between March 2022 and February 2022 was very small almost 0.8%. And the change in the CPI for March 2021 over February 2021 was almost double. Therefore when you do the changes you will find that the change will be smaller and hence you get 13.1% compared to 14.2%. Firstly food inflation slowed down to 0.9% from 1.9%. Now the 0.9% is positive meaning that there were price increases under the food inflation table,” he said.

“However, compared to the previous month the increases were lower and much of that slowdown came from cereals, vegetables and other products. The non-food was also recorded at 0.6 % in the month of March compared to 1.5% in the month of February 2022. So it is positive, so there is still inflation except that it is slowing down. Now the slowing down is important for any economy, it means that you are making progress in inflation.”

He said the overall monthly inflation slowed down to 0.8 percent from 1.7 percent in February 2022.

“Overall monthly inflation slowed down to 0.8% from 1.7% in February 2022. If you look at the movement of inflation from February to March 2022, the increase in the CPI between February and March 2022 was only 0.8%. Now if you compare the similar month which was March 2021, the increase in the March 2021 from that of February 2021 CPI was 1.7%. So we have got that huge 1.7% in the CPI between February 2021 and March 2021 and compared to 0.8% almost half of that. The increase of the CPI between February 2022 and March 2022, that is important when we come to the overall annual inflation development,” Musepa said.

“In terms of inflation, a slow down if you had a very high inflation, and [it] starts slowing down, that’s a positive development in terms of the economy because you are moving towards price stability. And you may want to know that the government has put 6 – 7 % to bring inflation to there.”

He said Copperbelt Province recorded the highest annual inflation rate at 16.7 percent, while Eastern Province recorded the lowest at 9.2 percent.

“Annual Inflation declined for Central to 10.9% from 13.1%, Copperbelt to 16.7% from 17.9%, Eastern to 9.2% from 12.0%, Luapula to 15.7% from 16.2%, Lusaka to 13.0% from 14.8%, Northern to 13.5% from 14.1%, Southern to 11.0% from 12.2%. Annual Inflation for March 2022 increased for North-Western to 12.1% from 9.3%, Western to 12.6% from 6.8%” Musepa said.

He further said the cumulative total trade increased by 7.2 percent in February 2022 compared to February 2021.

“Road had the highest volume share at 83.2% (364 thousand mt), followed by Rail at 0.6% (0.4 thousand mt). Road had the highest share at 56.0% (290.6 thousand mt); while Rail had 3.8% (10.3 thousand mt). Trade Surplus (K6.0bn) posted in Feb. 2022 by 8.2%. Exports increased by 2.7%, while imports increased by 9.6%. TEs (mainly Copper) increased by 1.1% to K13.4 bn in Feb. 2022. NTEs (Fero-silico-manganese, Sulphur of all kinds and Rubies, sapphires and emeralds) increased by 8.9% to K3.7 bn in Feb. 2022. Refined copper export earnings increased by 1.0% in Feb. 2022,” said Musepa.

“LME copper prices increased by 1.7% in Feb. 2022. Export volumes decreased by 11.6% to 71.9 thousand mt in Feb. 2022 from 81.2 thousand mt in Jan. 2022. Volume of refined copper exports in Feb. 2022 increased by 2.3% relative to Feb. 2021.”