South Africa Inflation Rises To 7%

South Africa's consumer price inflation increased for the first time in four months in February, defying expectations for stability, figures from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday.

The consumer price index climbed 7.0 percent year-on-year in February, faster than the 6.9 percent rise in January. Economists had forecast inflation to remain unchanged at 6.9 percent.

The inflation rate continues to be higher than the 3-6 percent goal set by the South African Reserve Bank.

Core inflation, which excludes prices of non-alcoholic beverages, fuels and energy, accelerated to 5.2 percent in February from 4.9 percent a month ago. That was faster than the expected increase of 5.0 percent.

The overall inflation in February mainly came from prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, transport, and miscellaneous goods and services, the statistical office said.

Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages alone grew 13.6 percent annually in February, followed by transport charges with a 9.9 percent rise.
Costs for miscellaneous goods and services were 6.1 percent higher compared to last year, and prices paid for housing utilities increased 4.0 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices climbed 0.7 percent in February versus an expected gain of 0.6 percent.

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