Pressure mounts as inflation hits 27%

Edward Chilima

Economic experts have expressed fear that headline inflation—the rate at which prices change in an economy—may continue to rise despite the country entering the harvesting season.

Statistics from the National Statistical Office (NSO) show that, year-on-year, headline inflation rose by 0.3 percentage points to 27 percent in March.

A Consumer Price Indices Statistics flash published by the NSO on Wednesday shows that food and non-food inflation rates were seen at 32.4 and 20.2 percent, respectively.


“The national month-to-month inflation rate for March 2023 stands at 2.2 percent. Food inflation rate is at 3.3 percent while non-food inflation rate is at 0.6 percent. The urban month-to-month inflation rate is at 2.0 percent.

“Urban food and non-food inflation rates stand at 3.8 and 0.2 percent, respectively. The rural month-to-month inflation rate is at 2.3 percent. Rural food and non-food inflation rates stand at 3.1 and 0.9 percent, respectively,” the statistics flash reads.

Centre for Social Concern Programmes Coordinator Bernard Mphepo said the development will push a lot of Malawians into the poverty bracket.


“The increase in inflation implies that our economy is not performing well. This means that the poor will struggle to access basic needs. This means that the cost of living increased in March from the K372,000 recorded in February. If the trend continues more people will be pushed into the poverty bracket,” Mphepo said.

In a separate interview, economist Edward Chilima said the trend is likely going to continue in the short to medium terms.

“The increase is not a surprise, with food prices going up, and also given the recent shocks due to the cyclones. We should not expect anything different from an increasing inflation rate.

“Given the recent adjustment of farm produce prices by the government, we expect the price of food, especially maize, hence food inflation, to continue to be under pressure,” Chilima said.

He predicted a continued rise in imported inflation.

This is a record high rate since June 2013 when headline inflation was recorded at 27.9 percent.

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