Maputo — Mozambique’s inflation rate in February, calculated from the consumer price indices of the three largest cities, Maputo, Beira and Nampula, was 1.16 per cent, the National Statistics Institute (INE) announced on Friday.
January’s inflation was 1.35 per cent. There have thus been two months in a row where inflation has been over one per cent – unwelcome news for the government, and a sharp contrast to 2012. Then prices actually fell in February, with an inflation rate of minus 0.24 per cent.
The February 2013 inflation is almost entirely caused by rises in the prices of charcoal (12.7 per cent), and of a few key foodstuffs – maize flour (2.4 per cent), butter beans (4.6 per cent), coconuts (12.1 per cent), tomatoes (7.5 per cent), cabbage (29.4 per cent) and lettuce (33.6 per cent).
The prices of a few goods fell, but only marginally – for example, onions by 0.03 per cent, live chickens by 0.02 per cent, salt by 0.01 per cent, and dried fish by 0.01 per cent. In no way did such barely perceptible changes compensate for the rises in other foodstuffs.
So far this year, accumulated inflation is 2.52 per cent. But in the entire year of 2012, inflation was 2.02 per cent. Thus in just two months, this year’s inflation has exceeded the inflation rate of all 12 months of 2012.
The government’s target for 2013 is that the average 12 monthly inflation figure over the year should not exceed 7.5 per cent. This can still be achieved, but will depend on several months of low inflation.