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Cost of living stable in April

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John Kapito

The cost of living for a family of six remained high at K209,000 in April, latest figures from the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) show.

The figure symbolises stability in the cost of essential commodities for urban dwellers.

This is despite expectations that food prices, especially maize, would drop in the month owing to commencement of the harvesting season in some parts of the country.

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However, the cost of living went up by 2.6 percent when compared to the K203, 695 recorded in April last year.

In an interview, CfSC Economic Governance Programmes Officer Bernard Mphepo said the cost of living remained high in the month due to the increase in prices of non-food items.

“The cost of living was expected to go down in the month due to a decrease in cost of food items; however, it remained high due to an increase in cost of non-food items.

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“It is envisaged that the cost of living will be stable in June and July and then the cost of living will start going up again. Malawians, especially low paid workers, should expect tough times during the lean period,” Mphepo said.

In a separate interview, Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito said an independent study conducted by the association shows that the cost of living is at K295,000 for urban dwellers and K187,000 for those in rural settings.

“Unfortunately, these are assumptions based on different inputs into the basket. The urban basket has been loaded with 20 percent maize while in the rural basket it takes 32 percent.

“The rest are basic needs that today include soap, sugar, water, electricity, relish, rent and transport; so, we included in our study market trends and the level of disposable incomes,” Kapito said.

Lilongwe-based economist Frank Kamanga said the recent figures could be a true reflection of the cost of living between March and April, as food prices remained stable.

In April, headline inflation went down by 0.2 percentage points to 9.2 percent from 9.4 percent in March, thanks to easing maize prices.

This is the first time in five months for inflation to ease.

Inflation last dropped in November 2020 to 7.3 percent from 7.5 percent in October 2020.

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