2 February 2021
For the fourth quarter of 2020, the Retail Price Index (RPI) has been measured at 105.6. This is a very slight decrease from a year ago, when the RPI was 105.9. This means that the average annual inflation rate is -0.2%, comparing prices now to the same period in 2019. Last quarter, the annual inflation rate stood at 1.0%.
Chart 1. St Helena Retail Price Index Q4 2014 to Q4 2020 (Q1 2018=100)
The major factor that is contributing to the low annual inflation rate on St Helena continues to be the strength of the Pound compared to the South African Rand, and the low inflation rates in both the United Kingdom and South Africa, where most of the goods that are imported to St Helena are purchased.
The largest annual increase in average prices was in the Alcohol and Tobacco category (7.4%). As in the previous quarter, this is due to increases in Customs duties during the year (duty on alcohol was increased by 2.9% and on tobacco and tobacco products by 3.9%).
Average prices of goods and services fell over the year in four categories: Household Energy, Miscellaneous Goods and Services, Food, and Transport. The 0.8% fall in average food prices is especially significant, because Food comprises more than a third of the overall basket. As explained previously, this is largely a result of the lower value of the Rand compared to the St Helena Pound; some South African food items, such as UHT milk, dropped in price as a result, compared to a year ago. The fall in the Transport category is largely due to a decrease in the price of both petrol and diesel; in Q4 2019, a year ago, petrol cost £1.37 a litre and diesel cost £1.46 a litre. But in Q4 2020, petrol cost £1.29 a litre and diesel cost £1.31 a litre.
The full Statistical Bulletin can be found on the St Helena Government website via: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena/statistics/statistics-reports-and-publications/. Detailed data can be accessed in Excel format from the ‘Inflation’ file via: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena/statistics/.
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2 February 2021