Maputo — Prices in Mozambique remained relatively stable throughout 2012, according to the final figures for inflation in the year, published on Tuesday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).
The January-December inflation figure, as measured by the consumer price indices for the three largest cities, Maputo, Beira and Nampula, was 2.02 per cent. This is the lowest annual inflation figure since the introduction of structural adjustment measures in January 1987.
Most of the 2012 inflation occurred in the last two months of the year. In December, inflation was 1.06 per cent – exactly the same as in November.
The December inflation in Maputo was 1.01 per cent, in Beira 1.29 per cent, and in Nampula 1.03 per cent.
Nationally, the major price rises were for passenger transport (10 per cent), dried fish (6.7 per cent), coconuts (5.8 per cent), tomatoes (3.2 per cent), maize flour (2.1 per cent), and frozen fish (one per cent).
The transport figure is because December was the first full month of the new fares charged by the privately owned mini-buses (known colloquially as “chapas”) that provide much of the passenger transport in Maputo and the neighbouring cities of Matola.
The fare increase took effect on 15 November. The municipal authorities of the two cities authorised an increase in the fare for distances of up to ten kilometres from five to seven meticais (from 17 to 24 US cents), an increase of 40 per cent. For journeys longer than this, the fare rose from 7.5 to nine meticais, which is a 20 per cent rise. There was no similar rise in Beira or Nampula.
For much of the year, Mozambique experienced, not inflation, but deflation – for five of the 12 months the average level of prices fell. The figures by month were as follows:
January - 0.64 per cent;
February - minus 0.24 per cent;
March - 0.21 per cent;
April - minus 0.24 per cent;
May - minus 0.53 per cent;
June - minus 0.34 per cent;
July - 0.03 per cent;
August - minus 0.02 per cent;
September - 0.06 per cent;
October - 0.33 per cent;
November - 1.06 per cent;
December – 1.06 per cent.
Annual inflation has thus fallen from 17.44 per cent in 2010, to 6.14 per cent in 2011 to 2.02 per cent in 2012.
The average 12 monthly inflation rate over the year was 2.6 per cent, much lower than the government’s target of 5.6 per cent.