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South Africa Inflation Rises In March, Retail Sales Grow Again

South Africa's consumer price inflation rose to the highest level in three months in March and retail sales grew for a second consecutive month in February, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday.

The consumer price index rose 4.5 percent year-on-year in March, following a 4.1 percent increase in February. Economists had expected the inflation to rise to 4.6 percent.

The latest inflation rate was the highest since December, when it was 4.5 percent.

Contributions to annual inflation was from alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and transport.

Excluding food and non-alcoholic beverages, the inflation was 4.4 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices rose 0.8 percent in March, same as in February. Economists had expected the monthly inflation to rise to 0.9 percent.

Separate data from Statistics South Africa showed that retail sales climbed 1.1 percent annually in February, after a 1.2 percent increase in January. Economists had expected sales to rise 0.1 percent.

On a monthly basis, retail sales rose 0.5 percent in February, which was slower than 1.6 percent increase in the previous month.

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