The country’s annual consumer inflation increased to 6.0 percent in May 2023, from a revised 5.7 percent observed in April 2023.
This is contained in the Central Bank of Eswatini’s (CBE) Recent Economic Development Report for the period of May-June 2023.
The report notes that food inflation was one of the major drivers of the increased annual consumer inflation.
“Food inflation remained in double-digit, increasing to 15.7 percent in May 2023 compared to 14.7 percent in the previous month. Driving food inflation were increases in the prices for bread & cereals, fruit, and coffee, tea & cocoa.”
Furthermore, increases were noted in the price indices for household furniture & maintenance, food & non-alcoholic beverages, and alcoholic beverages & tobacco.
“The index for ‘household furniture and maintenance’ jumped to 10.8 percent in the month under review, from 4.1 percent in the previous month, mainly driven by increases in the prices of major household appliances and bedroom furniture. The price index for alcoholic beverages & tobacco grew by 1.6 percentage points to record 2.6 percent in May 2023, benefitting from an increase in the price of ‘wine.”
The report, however, notes that the increases were partially offset by decreasing rates of growth in the price indices for health and housing & utilities.
The growth rate of the price index for health significantly dropped to 0.9 percent in May 2023, from 22.4 percent in the previous month.
“This was driven by a 26.0 percent drop in outpatient medical services between the two months under review. Following the notable jump in the price index for housing & utilities in April 2023, driven by the implementation of the electricity & water tariffs and housing rentals, the index eased to 5.7 per.”
The CBE says on a month-on-month basis, consumer prices slowed to 0.1 percent in May 2023 from 1.4 percent in the previous month. Contributing to this slowdown is the price index for housing & utilities which recorded a 0.3 percent deflation in the month under review, down from 6.6 percent in the previous month.
On the contrary, increases were noted in the price indices for transport and household furniture & maintenance’ which grew by 1.3 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively, between the two months under review.