Inflation Rate Eases to 8.2%

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures, reported that inflation eases to 8.2% in August.

All-Items Index
In August, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation rose by 8.2% year-on-year, 0.5 percentage points lower from the 8.7% recorded July.

Rates continue to hold steady in the single digit range since the beginning of the year. In August, the rate of inflation slowed as a result of declines in food prices due to the onset of the harvest season. This has given temporary respite from the increases exhibited in the previous month. In particular, there was a noticeable moderation of prices in the Potatoes, Yams and Other Tubers group, vis-à-vis other food groups.

After trending lower in the first half of the year (from 11.3% in January to 5.5% in June), the core sub-index has trended upwards for the second consecutive month.

It should be noted that the Headline Index is made up of the Core Index and Farm Produce items. As Processed Foods are included in both the Core and Food sub-indices, this implies that these sub-indices are not mutually-exclusive.

On a month-on basis, price increases have moderated for the third consecutive month. In August, the Headline index increased by 0.25%, roughly 0.3 percentage points lower from 0.54% recorded in July.

The Urban composite CPI was recorded at 146.8 points in August, an 8.4% increase compared with levels recorded in August 2012.

This was also 0.4 percentage points lower than the 8.8% recorded in July. The corresponding Rural National CPI recorded an 8.1% year-on-year change in August, lower from the 8.6% recorded in July by 0.5 percentage points.

On a month-on-month basis, the rates of growth recorded by the Urban and Rural All-items indices while positive, slowed for the second straight month. The Urban All-items index increased by 0.3% in August; down from 0.6 recorded in July, while the Rural All Items index increased by 0.2%; 0.3 percentage points lower from 0.5% recorded in July.

The percentage change in the average Composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending in August 2013 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was recorded at 9.8%, marginally lower than the average twelve month rate of change of 10.0 recorded in July. The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the Urban index was 10.9%, while the corresponding Rural index was recorded at 8.9%.

Food Index
The composite Food Index increased year-on-year by 9.7% in August. This was the first moderation in the food sub-index in three months as increasing farm supplies due to the harvest season may begin to put downward pressure on food prices.

The rate recorded in August was 0.3 percentage points lower than the 10.0% recorded in July.

Food prices were also lower on a month-on basis. The Food sub-index increased by 0.5% in August, lower from the 0.7% recorded in July. In August, the highest price increases were recorded in the Bread and Cereals, Meats, Fruits and Vegetable classes.

The average annual rate of rise of the Food sub index for the twelve-month period ending in August 2013 was 10.2% when compared with the same period in 2012, roughly unchanged from the 12 month average year-on-year change for the period ending in July.

All Items less Farm Produce
The “All items less Farm Produce” or Core index, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural products increased for the second consecutive month in August to 7.2%, up by 0.6 percentage points from the 6.6% recorded in July. On a month-on-month basis, the Core sub index was recorded at 1.3%, marginally higher from the 1.2% recorded in July.

The increase in the core sub-index was as a result of price increases across various class items in particular; educational materials as a result of onset of the academic year, Clothing and Garment prices, Actual and Imputed Rental prices, and road transportation prices, particularly in urban areas due to the movement of people during the Muslim holiday.

The average 12 month annual rate of rise of the index was recorded at 9.4% for the twelve-month period ending in August 2013, down 0.6 percentage points from the 10.0% recorded in July 2013.