CPI remains unchanged in May

CPI remains unchanged in May

Though it may come as somewhat a relief that the Consumer Price Inflation remained unchanged from April at 5.2% in May, consumers will still have to dig deep into their pockets for some of the products.

According to Stats SA, the monthly change in consumer price index was 0.2%. Only four of the 12 product group remained steady between April and May, this includes food and non-alcohol beverages (NAB).

Though in some products there was some moderate decline in inflation, products and services remain largely high. Consumers will also have to dig deeper into their pockets for some meals at restaurants and for a hot cup of coffee. Getting sick this winter also will prove costly as most of the products have shown an increase in inflation.

According to Stats SA; Higher rates were recorded for transport, alcoholic beverages & tobacco and recreation & culture. Inflation was softer for miscellaneous goods & services, communication, clothing & footwear, health and restaurants & hotels

Stats SA says after five consecutive months of decline, food and NAB inflation remained steady at 4,7% in May, unchanged from April. Bread & cereals continued to trend downward, slowing further to 3,9%. This is the lowest annual reading for bread & cereals since February 2022 when the rate was 3,7%.

Nine of the twenty bread & cereal products in the inflation basket are cheaper than a year ago. Rusks, hot cereals, pasta and savoury biscuits registered the largest price decreases. Inflation remains notably hot, however, for rice, pizza & pies, sweet biscuits, cakes & tarts and bread rolls.

Milk, eggs & cheese inflation moderated for a fifth consecutive month, on the back of slower price increases for cheese, selected milk products and eggs. The annual rate for eggs remains elevated at 21,0% but is softer than April’s 25,1%.

Inflation for sugar, sweets & desserts also continued a downward trajectory, dampened by lower rates for sugar, jam, chocolate and ice cream. Although sugar inflation cooled in May, annual increases for both white and brown varieties remain in double-digit territory, at 18,8% and 15,8% respectively.

May saw an uptick in inflation for hot beverages, oils & fats, fish, fruit, vegetables and meat. Hot beverages quickened from 11,4% in April to 14,2% in May, the highest since January 2023 (16,4%). Inflation for instant coffee, ground coffee or coffee beans and black tea stands above 10%. Instant coffee prices rose by an annual 17,9%, up from 13,8% in April.

Though health products cooled to 5.8% in May compared to 7.7% in April, some products remain largely high in inflation. Stats SA says the price for cold & flu medication witnessed an annual rise of 11,1%. Other health-related products that recorded relatively large increases include eyedrops (up 15,9%), laxatives (up 11,3%), cough syrup (up 8,1%) and vitamins (up 7,1%).

Transport quickened to 6,3% from 5,7% in April. This is the highest rate for the category since October 2023 (7,4%). Fuel was the major culprit, with petrol and diesel prices increasing on average by 9,3% over the last 12 months (and by 0,6% since April 2024).

The index for restaurants & hotels rose by an annual 6,5%. Hotel prices were up by 8,0% over the same period, with hotels in Gauteng, Free State and Limpopo registering increases higher than 10%.

The miscellaneous goods & services category recorded an annual rate of 7,1%, slightly softer than 7,2% in April. Personal care products recorded a fifth consecutive month of disinflation, slowing to 7,0% in May from a recent high of 10,3% in December 2023. Personal care products with the highest inflation rates in May were baby powder (up 18,4%), shampoo (up 16,6%), toothbrushes (up 16,5%) and toothpaste (up 16,1%).


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