Inflation On The Rise Once Again After Four Month Decline

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Inflation is once again on the rise, despite hope that it might decrease and relieve some pressure on the wallets of South Africans, who are left frustrated with the unaffordable cost of living.


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Inflation has reared its ugly head again, meaning South Africans are experiencing strenuous financial hits due to the cost of living that is on the rise once again. 

The inflation rate rose again in February 2023, after four months of a steady decline. 

Consumer price inflation edged to 7% from 6.9% in January 2023, while in February, the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose up to 13.6% year-on-year; the highest number since April 2009. 

Statistics SA has stated that this is the biggest monthly hike since July 2022, and the continuing rise in food inflation was a major contributor.

South Africans have been feeling the strain on their wallets for some time now, meaning more money is needed to afford the same products they've always been buying. The country's most vulnerable citizens are the ones that are the most affected. 

Maize meal, a staple food, was almost 35% more expensive, and onions cost 44% more last month (February 2023) than they did a year ago in February 2022. 

Kevin Lings, Chief Economist at Stanlib Asset Management, believes that while it's not a big inflation jump, it is concerning because it's not in one particular category, but is fairly broad-based.

"It's all of the factors that the Reserve Bank has been warning about - it starts off to do with let's say global supply disruption or the oil price, but then if you don't really get on top of it, [it] can broaden into more categories," says Lings. 

Not only has the price of food risen to astronomical levels, but so has the price of diesel and petrol, medical insurance and of course, electricity. 

Consumers are not the only ones feeling the pressure of the steep cost of living; manufacturers and retailers are feeling the weight as well. 

The continuous rise in inflation and the rising cost of living does not match what employees are currently earning, making it difficult to afford the necessities required for survival. 

South African citizens are expected to make do with what they earn, even though the cost of living and the astronomical levels of inflation have not taken into account that salaries/wages currently being earned do not match the real life pricing of expenses that are needed.

The devastating impacts of inflation and the left-over results from the Covid-19 pandemic burdens low-income earners more than it does for those employed in higher positions. While entry-level employees may be struggling to afford certain expenses, those who are earning more will not feel the same strain. 

“The sad reality is that when it comes to such high prices in these basic necessities that everyone needs, you need to have a roof over your head and food on the table, and in order to afford these necessities they are going to need to cut back on other things that are also necessary [like] life insurance policies and savings” explained Kristen Malan from Money Wit Financial Wellness. 

 

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inflation rising in south africa

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a monthly measurement where the price of a range of consumer products are measured. The difference in the price of a good is its inflation.

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