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South Africans had to fork out at least 7.3 percent more per kilogramme this just-ended festive season to enjoy their favourite beef braai than they did the previous December, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has reported.

This means if you paid R80 for a kilogramme of chuck in 2019, 12 months later you had to part with at least R5.85 more for the same piece of meat.

Although South Africa’s inflation rate – measured by the annual change in the consumer price index (CPI) – averaged 3.3 percent in 2020, it was at its lowest since 2004.

Annual inflation ended 2020 at 3.1 percent in December, slightly lower than November’s reading of 3.2 percent.

The monthly increase in the CPI was 0.2 percent, up from zero percent in November.

According to StatsSA, the food and non-alcoholic beverages category was the main driver of inflation in December, with a monthly increase of 0.5 percent and an annual rise of 6.0 percent.

This was up from November’s annual reading of 5.8 percent.

Three food groups recorded above average annual and monthly price increases in December, StatsSA said in its latest report released today.

Meat prices rose by 7.3 percent from a year ago and by 1.2 percent from November.

Stewing beef was 2.9 percent more expensive than it was in November 2020 and 12.4 percent more expensive than in December 2019.

Prices in the oils and fats category climbed by 10.2 percent over 12 months and by 1.6 percent over one month.

Cooking oil prices increased by 11.3 percent since December 2019 and by 2.9 percent between November 2020 and December 2020.

Inflation in sugar, sweets and dessert products recorded an annual rise of 8.4 percent and a monthly rise of 1.1 percent.

White sugar prices increased by 1.1 percent over the month and by 10.0 percent over the year.

The December CPI carries the results of the latest survey for housing rentals, which is the source for actual and imputed rentals.

Together, these components comprise almost 17 percent of the CPI basket.

Houses registered a lower annual increase at 1.0 percent for imputed rentals than flats at 1.9 percent for imputed rentals and townhouses at 1.7 percent for imputed rentals.

The overall annual increase for imputed rentals was 1.1 percent.

Actual rentals rose by 1.2 percent.

Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan had expected inflation to moderate to 3.1 percent in December, citing lower fuel costs, with petrol and diesel prices down 11.3 percent and 14.3 percent year-on-year in December, respectively.

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