Inflation jumps to 21.7 percent in July
Malawi's headline inflation continues to run away as it accelerated by 1.6 percentage points from 20.1 percent in June to 21.7 percent in July, the National Statistical Office (NSO) has said.
In its statement released on Friday, urban inflation went up from 24.2 percent to 25.1 percent while rural inflation inched up to 19.6 percent from 17.7 percent in June.
"Although the prices of some food and non-food items have gone up their impact on headline inflation has been somewhat countered by the reduction in the prices of selected processed foods, newspapers, second-hand clothing and other textiles and gasoline," said NSO.
Finance Minister Ken Lipenga has predicted inflation to average 18.4 percent in 2012 from an average of 7.6 percent in 2011 with the prospects of decelerating to 16.1 percent in 2013 as full recovery begins.
Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Charles Chuka last month told a gathering of economic heavy weights in Blantyre that the country's real inflation could be above the quoted figures.
He said that the RBM's position is to focus not only on the maize-based headline inflation but also on the more reflective core inflation.
In June, NSO placed core inflation at 22.7 percent, up by 0.9 percentage points in May owing largely to the lagged effects of the recent price hikes in non-food costs. NSO has, however, not indicated the position of core inflation in July.
In its Consumer Price Indices Manual released this month, NSO said the CPI measures changes over time in the general level of prices of goods and services that households acquire, (use or pay for) for the purpose of consumption.
The current Malawian CPI compares the current month prices of consumption goods and services to the corresponding prices of the year 2000.
"Prices for the CPI are collected in 22 towns/trading centre selected to represent the rural part of the country and in all 4 cities that constitute the urban part. Each month pricing officers, who are employees of the
National Statistical Office, obtain the current prices. They work out of 4 area offices (Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern). For easy coverage of the entire country, monitoring and supervision, price collection follows a decentralized path by region," said NSO.