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Inflation down to 8.7%

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Ben Kalua

Malawi’s headline inflation went down in May to 8.7 percent, thanks to continued declining food prices, figures from the National Statistical Office (NSO) have shown.

This is the lowest inflation rate since February 2019 when inflation was recorded at 7.9 percent.

It represents a 0.7 percentage point change when compared to the 9.4 percent rate recorded in the preceding month but 0.2 percentage change when compared to the 8.9 percent rate recorded in May last year.

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The NSO report shows that national month to month inflation rate for May 2020 stands at -1.5 percent compared to -4.2 percent registered in April, 2020.

“Food inflation rate is at -3.2 percent compared to -8.4 percent in April, 2020 while Non-Food Inflation stagnates at 0.1 percent as it was recorded in April, 2020. Food and Non-Food Inflation rates stand at 13.7 and 4.5 percent respectively,” reads the report in part.

In an interview, Economics Professor at Chancellor College, Ben Kalua, said the development was expected especially that April and May are the pick of harvesting season.

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“The recent downward trend of inflation is mainly perpetuated by food inflation which is mainly influenced by maize availability. However, we should expect inflation to take an upward trajectory once the harvesting season is over,” Kalua said.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi said it expects inflation to average 8.8 percent in 2020, which is a drop from 9.4 recorded in 2019.

The projection was on the back of better food supply, stability in local currency, stable fuel prices and tight fiscal and monetary policies but notwithstanding a slowdown threat to most economies posed by Covid-19 pandemic.

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