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HEADLINE INFLATION SLOWS DOWN TO 4.1%

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MBABANE – The country’s headline inflation rate has continued to slow down for the third consecutive time since December 2023.

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report has indicated that the inflation rate has shown a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the 4.3 per cent observed in February 2024. The 4.1 per cent observed in March 2024 is 1.4 percentage points lower than the inflation rate of 5.6 per cent observed in March 2023. It was reported that in March 2024, the inflation rate for goods is 4.7 per cent and for services, it was 3.3 per cent.

Decreased

Month-on-month highlights (March 2024 compared with February 2024) showed that health, which decreased from 3.5 per cent in February 2024 to 0 per cent in March 2024, where zero growth rates were observed in medical services. Recreation and culture, increased from -0.3 per cent in February 2024 to 0.9 per cent in March 2024, where growth rates were observed mainly in pets and related products. Furnishing, household equipment and routine household maintenance, decreased from 0.8 per cent in February 2024 to -0.2 per cent in March 2024.
This was due to negative growth rates observed in small electric appliances and slower growth rates observed in household textiles.

Furthermore, year-on-year highlights (March 2024 compared with March 2023) showed that health, decreased from 22.7 per cent in March 2023 to 5.8 per cent in March 2024. This was reportedly due to lower price increases observed in medical services. Also, restaurants and hotels, increased from 0.8 per cent in March 2023 to 13.0 per cent in March 2024. This was due to price increases mainly in accommodation services in this category. Food and non-alcoholic beverages also decreased from 16.0 per cent in March 2023 to 4.2 per cent in March 2024. This is due to fish and seafood; and oils and fats (which both recorded negative growths); and bread and cereals, which recorded a slower growth. The decreasing rates were counteracted by increasing rates of growth in the price indices for, clothing and footwear, which increased from 6.0 per cent in November 2023 to 6.5 per cent in December 2023. Shoes and garments contributed to the higher index in this category.

Contributed

Health increased from 0.7 per cent in November 2023 to 1.2 per cent in December 2023. Pharmaceutical products, mainly contributed to the higher index in this category. In the recent monetary policy statement, the Governor of the Central Bank of Eswatini said they will continue to monitor international and domestic developments that influence the movements of inflation and will act appropriately in line with its mission to foster price and financial stability that is conducive to the economic development in Eswatini.

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