15 January 2020 | Comments
- Latest rate of annual inflation estimated to be 2.1% between fourth quarter of 2019 and fourth quarter of 2018
- Compared to a year ago, the largest increase in prices has been in ‘Transport’ and ‘Alcohol and Tobacco’ categories
- Average prices of items in each category went up or stayed the same compared to a year ago, apart from ‘Household Energy’
Estimates of the price inflation rate and the Retail Price Index has today been released by the St Helena Statistics Office. The latest rate of annual price inflation is estimated to be 2.1%, between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2018. This is a decrease from the rate in the previous quarter (Q3, 2019), when the annual price inflation rate was measured at 2.9%. The quarterly price inflation rate of 0.5% (i.e. Q4 2019 compared to Q3 2019) is a slight increase in the rate from last quarter, when it was 0.4%.
Although there have been increases in freight rates on the MV Helena over the last year, the lower annual rate of price inflation is influenced by the relatively low price inflation rates in the United Kingdom (1.5%) and South Africa (3.6%), and the slight weakening of the Rand, from around 17 Rand per pound at the start of the year to just under 19 Rand per pound at the end. The improved exchange rate means that St Helena can buy South African products for less, and the easing of external inflationary pressures has helped offset increased freight prices for some imported goods.
Compared to a year ago, the largest increase in prices has been in ‘Transport’ (7.1%), an effect of the increase in fuel prices and the price of the vehicle component during quarter 4 2019. The second largest increase occurred in ‘Alcohol and Tobacco’ (3.8%). Both of these increases are consistent with the recent changes in import duty rates on vehicles and tobacco products.
The average prices of items in each category went up or stayed the same compared to a year ago, apart from ‘Household Energy’, reflecting the unchanged price of domestic electricity since 2016 (one of the highest weighted items in the index) and a small price decrease in gas cylinders compared to Q4 2018. The annual average increase of items in the ‘Food’ category (1.4%) was also quite low compared with last quarter, when it was 4.0%.
The full Statistical Bulletin can be found on the St Helena Government website here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Stats-Bulletin-2-2020-Prices.pdf 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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15 January 2020