12 April 2019
The St Helena Statistics Office today released estimates of the price inflation rate and the Retail Price Index. The latest rate of annual price inflation is estimated to be 4.1%, between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2018. This is a 0.6 percentage point decrease from the rate in the previous quarter (Q4, 2018), when the annual price inflation rate was measured at 4.7%.
Annual price inflation rate, 2013 to Q1 2019
Compared to a year ago, average prices in all categories increased, except ‘Household Goods and Services’, which decreased slightly on average. On an annual basis, prices in the ‘Communication’ category saw the highest increase, up by 10.7% compared to a year ago because of the increase in the television and telephone tariffs that occurred during 2018. The category with the lowest annual rate was ‘Household goods and services’, where prices fell slightly, on average by 0.7%.
Prices of imported goods are affected by price inflation in South Africa and the United Kingdom, the exchange rate of the St Helena pound compared to the South African Rand, and other costs involved in importing goods, including freight rates and import taxes. In the United Kingdom, annual price inflation is relatively low at 1.9% in February 2018, and in South Africa inflation in February was similar to St Helena, at 4.1%. But over the last year the pound has strengthened considerably against the South African Rand; in February 2018, a St Helena pound bought 16.15 Rands on average, but in February 2019, the St Helena pound was worth 18.01 Rands – an 11.5% increase. This has the effect of making South African goods cheaper, offsetting some of the increases that may occur for other reasons (such as increasing freight rates).
The full Statistical Bulletin can be found on the St Helena Government website here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistical-bulletin-no-4-2019-prices/, detailed data can be accessed in Excel format from the ‘Inflation’ file at: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.
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12 April 2019