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February inflation seen at 8.3%

Surges by 0.6 percentage points

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Betchani Tcheleni

Malawi’s headline inflation remained on an upward spiral, rising by 0.6 percentage points in February to 8.3 percent, latest figures from the National Statistical Office (NSO) show.

This is the third month in a row that inflation has increased since registering a drop in November 2020 to 7.3 percent from 7.5 percent in October 2020.

Recent figures from NSO indicate that national month-to-month inflation rate for February 2021 stands at 1.9 percent compared to 3.1 percent registered in January, 2021.

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During the month under review, food inflation was seen at 2.5 percent compared to 4.8 percent in January, 2021 while non-food inflation stood at 1.1 percent from 1.3 percent in January, 2021.

“The urban month-to-month inflation rate is 1.6 percent. Urban food and non-food inflation rates stand at 3.3 and 0.5 percent respectively. The rural month-to-month inflation rate is at 2.1 percent. Rural food and non-food inflation rates stand at 2.2 and 1.9 percent, respectively.

“The headline inflation rate for February 2021 stands at 8.3 percent compared to 11.0 percent registered in February 2020. There is an increase of 0.6 percent in the headline inflation rate from January. Food and non-food inflation rates are at 10.3 and 6.3 percent, respectively,” the report reads.

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The Polytechnic-based economist Betchani Tchereni said in an interview that the trend was expected, considering a recent fuel increase which has triggered increases in prices of other commodities and services.

“The Kwacha has also depreciated compared to most currencies leading to inflation of most imports. Although we are in a harvest period, we should expect inflation to continue rising especially in the next two months, mainly because of the rise in oil prices globally.

“Further, we do not expect to export much value-added commodities this year which will mean that the trade balance may not improve much. So, an inflationary environment may continue to obtain the next two months or so,” Tchereni said.

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