South African producer inflation cools

South Africa’s producer inflation cooled more than forecast to a 13-month low in March, signalling that price pressures along the value chain may be easing.

Prices of final manufactured goods rose by 10.6% from a year earlier, compared with 12.2% in February, the Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a statement on Wednesday.

The median estimate of six economists in a Bloomberg survey was 11.3%.

Prices of agricultural goods, mining and electricity and water also rose at a slower pace. The agriculture producer inflation rate fell 6.7 percentage points to 7.5% in March from a month earlier.

The easing of upward pressures along the value chain may start to filter into headline price growth that has surprised the upside for two consecutive months, partly because of food inflation at a 14-year high and, according to the central bank, is yet to peak.

The South African Reserve Bank has increased interest rates by 425 basis points since November 2021 to rein in inflation above 4.5% — the midpoint of the target range at which its monetary policy committee prefers to anchor expectations — since May 2021.


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