Annual consumer price inflation quickened to 5,9% in March from 5,7% in February, placing it just below the upper limit (6%) of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range.

Transport, housing and utilities, and food and non-alcoholic beverages were the most significant contributors, with transport contributing 2,1 percentage points to the annual rate.

Fuel prices increased by 7,2% between February and March and rose by an eye-watering 33,2% in the twelve months to March, with petrol prices climbing by 32,6% and diesel by 35,1%.

Food and NAB inflation was softer in March. The monthly rate slowed from 0,9% in February to 0,6%, and the annual rate from 6,4% to 6,2%.

Bread and cereal prices increased at a monthly rate of 1,1% in March after recording a 2,4% jump in February. Other food categories in the CPI basket that registered price increases between February and March include meat; milk, eggs and cheese; fish; and sugar, sweets and desserts.

In line with South African economists’ predictions, March consumer inflation was 1 % from 0,6 % early this February.

March figures showed that inflation remained within the central bank’s 3 Percent to 6 percent target range.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has raised its main lending rate in each of its last three monetary policies to combat price pressures.