Best July in four years

Jo-Maré Duddy – July’s food inflation data contain sweet and sour, but mostly sweet ingredients: The overall figure of 3.7% is the mildest so far this year, and only a tad hotter than a year ago.

Last month’s figure is the lowest July inflation since 2015, when the rate was 3.3%. In July 2016, the rate was 7%, followed by 5.4% in July 2017 and 4.5% in July 2018.

The staple items in the food basket – bread and cereals, meat and fish – all recorded tender rates, the latest data of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) show. Bread and cereals inflation was 6.2%, down from 8.2% in June. It is, however, significantly higher than the 1.5% of July 2018.

Meat spent its third consecutive month in deflation, recording a rate of -0.9% – a massive drop from the tough 5.1% a year ago. Fish reeled in a rate of -0.3% compared to 7.6% in July 2018.

Figures for fruit and vegetables were a lot less mouth-watering.

Fruit inflation last month ripened to 10.5%, up from 8.1% in June and the highest so far this year. A year ago, fruit inflation was 12.7%. Vegetable inflation was 7.9%, up from 7.3%, but significantly softer than the 18.8% in January. In July 2018, vegetable inflation was 8%.

Other food items in deflation were oils and fats (-1.9%; 4% in July 2018), as well as coffee, tea and cocoa (-1.1%; 4.2% in July 2018).

Inflation for milk, cheese and eggs was 3.7% compared to -0.6% a year ago.

Housing, transport

Housing, water and electricity – the heavyweight in the national consumer basket – recorded a rate of 2.2%, higher than the 1.9% of June, but down from 3.7% a year ago.

Transport inflation slowed from 7% in June to 6.9%. Last July, the rate was 8.9%.

July’s inflation in other categories was: Alcohol and tobacco (3.5%; 6.8% in July 2018); clothing and footwear (1.2%; -5%); furnishings, household equipment and maintenance (1.8%; 0.6%); health (2.9%; 5.1%); education (12%; 9.9%); as well as hotels, cafes and restaurants (3.9%; 6.1%).