Annual Price Inflation Rate at 1.0% – Average food prices reduced compared to last quarter thanks to strong exchange rate

For the third quarter of 2020 the Retail Price Index (RPI) has been measured at 106.4. This is an increase from a year ago, when the RPI was 105.3. This means that the average annual inflation rate is 1.0%, comparing prices now to the same time period in 2019. Last quarter, the annual inflation rate stood at 1.8%.

Chart 1. St Helena Retail Price Index Q3 2014 to Q3 2020 (Q1 2018=100)

During Q3 2020, items that made an upward contribution towards the headline rate of 1.0% included alcohol and tobacco, housing and transport. Likewise, there were also items which made a downward contribution toward the rate, including prices of milk and some cold meats.

The major cause of the change is the fall, over the last 12 months or so, in the value of the South African Rand compared to the St Helena Pound. Many of the goods available in retail outlets on St Helena – especially perishable food items ­– are imported from South Africa, and so the exchange rate has a significant effect on prices, alongside the cost of freight and the level of customs duties. In South Africa, the value of the South African Rand has steadily fallen from around 18 Rand per Pound in 2019 to around 21 Rand per Pound at the end of September 2020. In the UK, inflation stood at 0.2% in August 2020.

The full Statistical Bulletin can be found on the St Helena Government website here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena/statistics/statistics-reports-and-publications/ detailed data can be accessed in Excel format from the ‘Inflation’ file at: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena/statistics/

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SHG
8 October 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470
Email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh